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Ambition and Paralysis: Omaha Von Maur Shooting

What happened when Robert Hawkins went into the Von Maur store of Westroads Mall in West Omaha, Nebraska?



No one knows, and the family of Hawkins bear the worst ignominy imaginable. Your son... Your son...

What I can say, however, is that upon hearing of the event, I received an aftershock of the teenage disillusion I experienced from ages ~14 to 17. You're a loser. Why can't you do anything? Your life has no meaning. No one likes you, and no one cares.

By my estimation, there is something about the human brain at this time that creates a thirst for danger, introspection, and the projection of a deranged psychological reality. Not all feel this, of course. Anthropologically, we have extended childhood too far, perhaps. Hawkins had recently broken up with his girlfriend and fired from his job at McDonald's. Caught up in dreams of greatness, ambition, and power, and juxtaposed with his humiliation of lost family, lost connections, and no place in society, Hawkins, like many others -- surprise -- did the "unthinkable."

There is something about that Missouri Valley, its river splitting Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska. Land of my youth, halcyon days, dark days, impotent rages, dysfunction, dreams of power, delusions of grandeur.

Was I that young man? Were we?

The unthinkable happened again, in Arvada and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Homicidal/suicidal shootings. What can be done?

There is an empire of hate brewing. If the Boomer Generation who fueled the American 1960s were excessively spoiled and privileged with material wealth, what of the children born during the Reagan era, and brought up in the "get mine" phase of the America economy? Where the separation between childhood and adulthood is supposed to be so simple -- as simple as the walls that separate the ghettos of the great unwashed and the whited sepulchres of B-52-size SUVs and McMansions.

For Hawkins, Von Maur represented the untouchable latter, I think -- Omaha's version of Luis Vuitton, Kenneth Cole, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Why are you shooting? No, you don't have to do this.

The shootings are supposed to be a last stand of power, a statement of hate, yet I'm overcome by the paralysis that the murders show. Amid this existential paranoia of teenage boys, we have given fuel to the fire: guns on demand.

A pall of death shadows poor Omaha, what we used to call the "City." The prayer doth not affect the nuclear weapon overhead, nor the gunblazing teenager. We live in an absurd world, and teach violence without realizing it, and suffer, suffer, suffer its effects.
No profanes - sacred
 
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