When dreams go up in smoke, should you, too?

Sonali Kudva

In the last two weeks, two incidents took place and stuck in my mind. In both cases the perpetrators of the deeds have taken extreme measures to cope with situations of stress. I refer to Amy Bishop, the woman who went on a shooting rampage at a university departmental faculty meeting, leaving three of her colleagues dead and another three injured. Bishop was denied tenure, and this fact is supposed to have contributed to her rampage.

People do strange things when their life’s dreams are thwarted and when their hopes of a bright future die. But this is not acceptable. One simply has no excuse to harm other people even when one’s own life is falling apart.

My life dreams have been thwarted many times. Not having an IQ of 180 like Bishop, I did not resort to extreme violence. Instead, I resorted to finding a way around my obstacles so my life could go on. It is hurtful (especially to one’s ego) when one’s dreams go up in smoke, but it is in no way a license to ruin and end other people’s lives.

Meanwhile, after leaving behind a note with a rant against the tax system, a man named Andrew Stack, 53, from North Austin, Texas, flew his plane into the local IRS building. Once again, perhaps an example of a desperate act by a person who felt he had no other choice. I cannot condone the actions of those who feel they have no choice. In the depths of depression, I still felt like I had to look for other ways to deal with situations that seemed grim and desperate.

When people feel there is no hope, they are driven to desperation, which leads to crazy actions. Is that how this cause-and-effect relationship works? Can this truly be an excuse for their behavior?

I want to understand how and why these people felt like they couldn’t deal with their situations and took these extreme measures. Anyone who cares to write in and speculate is most welcome to do so. The human spirit I believe is more resilient than one would like to believe. There are more ways to deal with grim situations than escape.

Sonali Kudva is a journalism graduate student and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].