Monday, August 9, 2010

Connecticut Shooting Offers Real-Life Example of Senseless Violence Based in Frustration

On popular television shows like Law and Order and CSI, you often will hear as part of the promo for an upcoming episode that the plot was "ripped from the headlines." When a news story captures the attention of a national audience, network executives see the opportunity for great ratings. This same concept also can happen in reverse, as my third novel and a recent tragedy in Connecticut illustrate.

Earlier this week, Omar S. Thornton opened fire at the Hartford Distributors beer distributorship and left eight people dead. Then, he turned the gun on himself. The violence occurred as Thornton was being escorted from the building, having just been given the choice to quit or be terminated. Apparently, he had been caught on video stealing cases of beer.

The mother of Thornton's girlfriend said that Thornton had complained about racial harassment at work, but no official complaints had been filed with the company or with his union representative.

In my book Tuey's Course, the title character is a man who becomes frustrated with years of discrimination, poverty, and a power structure that is unwilling to listen to his concerns. Just like Omar S. Thornton, Tuey eventually reaches his breaking point and leaves innocent people the victims of his violent rage. While there is no comparison between a real-life tragedy and a tragic life that is played out on the pages of a work of fiction, both speak to a feeling of hopelessness and the culture of violence that surrounds us.

My thoughts go out to the families of those who were killed in Connecticut on August 3. May you someday be able to find answers to the reason behind this senseless tragedy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sarah, why are you writing in the first person for James Ross?