INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 30, 2015 – Alison Parker, reporting on community news for WDBJ-TV7 in Roanoke, Va., early last Wednesday morning, was fatally shot during a live broadcast. Adam Ward, 27, WDBJ cameraman, was also killed; and the interviewee, community cheerleader Vicki Gardner, was shot in the back as she curled up on the sidewalk in a defensive posture.
Vester Flanagan, aka Bryce Williams, 41, carried his own camera to the scene of the murders, so he could later post his criminal acts on social media. He killed himself before being apprehended by police, the only decent act he committed in those dark hours.
Flanagan, according to reports, was one of those people who thought he was constantly under attack by everyone else in society; he was a longtime member of the Cult of the Chronically Offended.
According to many reports and statements from former co-workers and employers, Flanagan looked for ways to take offense at innocent remarks and fumed over imagined attacks on him, on his race, on his homosexual lifestyle.
Flanagan wasn’t good at holding a job, having been released from nearly every job he ever held, despite having been given many second and third chances. He was angry at the world.
He was convinced he was right… and the world was wrong.
Andy and Barbara Parker, the slain reporter’s parents, are grief-stricken and are asking why our society allows, even tolerates such “gun violence.” They are reaching out to anti-gun nut Michael Bloomberg, hoping to “do something” about guns. (Flanagan used a legally obtained firearm in his narcissistic rampage.)
While the senior Parkers and some politicians focus on the tool used by the killer, others point to another obvious nexus between the Roanoke killings and other high-profile (that is non-gang, non-suicide) shootings: the mental health records of the killers.
While it should be self-evident that killing innocents is a manifestation of a mental problem, the histories of virtually all these murderers include warning signs, chief among them them being a narcissism and a (consequent?) feeling of alienation.
Members of the Cult of the Chronically Offended can self-righteously tick off “reasons” and “justifications” for their acts. Self-centered and supported by other members of the Cult, they feel justified in their rage.
Where do Cult members get the fuel for their indignation? From time-honored sources – from the “everybody gets a trophy” mentality that reinforces the idea that all opinions have equal merit; from the idea that perception is reality, and from political correctness, where radical ideas are protected to the extreme end of the spectrum – where “normal” thoughts and opinions are prohibited, in the interest of promoting the most unconventional, wrongheaded ideas.
Society has evolved over millennia, with billions of people contributing to what are considered normal behaviors, and building the tradition of normalcy. While breakthroughs are responsible for notable technological improvements (e.g., vulcanizing, penicillin, Post-It Notes), the bulk of societal evolution – our attitudes towards our fellow man, as population density increases and forces us to live among diverse people) has been the result of wisdom, applied to available technology.
The radical Cult of the Chronically Offended seeks offbeat solutions, even as it tears down long-developed social mores, substituting narcissism, the “perception is reality” myth, and PC for common sense and regard for our fellow man.