Shriver on Virginia Tech

I was wondering when Lionel Shriver would write something about Virginia Tech, and her essay on Monday’s horrendous crime appears in today’s Guardian:

Why do they happen? If it does not sound too tautological, campus

shootings keep happening because they keep happening. Every time one of

these stories breaks, every time the pictures flash round the world, it

increases the chances that another massacre will follow. In the main,

all of these events are copycat crimes. Campus shootings are now a

genre, much as, in literature, campus-shooting novels are a genre, one

of whose entries I am guilty of writing myself. They are part of the

cultural vocabulary, and any disgruntled, despairing or vengeful

character – of any age of late, since grown-ups now want in on the act

– now has the idea of shooting up a campus firmly lodged in his brain.

…I would far prefer that this new killer remained anonymous. Were all

such culprits to remain utterly and eternally unknown, the chips on

their shoulders interred with their bones, their grudges for ever

private, surely the frequency of these grotesquely gratuitous sprees

would plummet. One of the driving forces for most of these killers is

not just to be noticed, but, however perversely, to be understood.