What it is is a tragedy. A deeply disturbed young man murdered nine people in their place of worship. Deliberate. Cool. Remorseless. But what does it serve to label him a “terrorist?” What movement, what organization, what revolutionary band of anti-social warriors does he represent? And how does it help to declare that he is yet another representation of the racism still rampant in our society? Terrorism is alive and high-functioning. Racism is by no means purged from our society, blatant or sneaking about the words and deeds of “solid citizens.” What this boy is is stark, barking mad and tossing him in with Isis, the militias or whatever it may be that one might identify as “what’s wrong with America” will provide no answers. There are plenty of places to look if we must have answers to “why?” We may not find definitive answers in those places but, answer me this–how did this boy get to be so twisted, so filled with hate of self and the world with nothing catching him in mid-fall? Oh, and don’t get me started on guns. He had one. It was not hard to get. Soon your daughter will be able to sit in “Intro. to English Lit” with a Glock hanging from her belt. It’s tempting in our need for answers–or perhaps just thoughtless–to latch on to what seem the most obvious evils or human failings of the day. But it is a mistake to rummage about in what lies large and perhaps familiar and miss the more complicated and no less tractable of all that sickens, bedevils and ultimately destroys the boy next door–and nine or hundreds of innocents pay the price.