I thought after hearing about the killing at VT, I was done with depressing news for the next month. Wrong again.
Earlier this week a Los Angeles resident, apparently dejected over losing his job, killed his wife and his five children before taking his own life. Authorities indicated that among the dead were an 8-year-old girl and two sets of twins — 5-year-old girls and 2-year-old boys. Read more about this horrible story here.
When I hear about vicious killings like this, I try to have an open mind even when my anger urges me to do otherwise. But I simply cannot understand how losing a job should automatically become a death sentence. What’s worse is that this man did not simply enforce a death sentence on himself, he also carry it out with his loved ones. It’s been rumored that he and his wife planned out this type of scenario in the event that they were driven to this point. But I cannot speak to the veracity of those claims.
Chalk up this tragedy to yet another causualty of job loss. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. It’s not likely to be the last time it happens. I should point out that there is a major difference in some of these stories: Lupoe and his wife were fired from their positions because of fraud. They were not laid off or downsized due to the state of the economy. Still, they faced the prospects of a world without an immediate economic solution. That can lead to just as much despondency as getting laid off.
On the one hand, stories like each of these are pretty predictable. In a country where one’s identity, self-worth, social value are directly tied to their employment status, education, etc., people unable to live up to certain expectations are probably more likely to commit acts like this. But I simply cannot fathom – perhaps as a product of my privilege as a person happily employed – ever arriving at the point where I would choose death over unemployment. I make no bones about it: I love my job (I wish I made more money, but I’m good…). But in the event that if I lost everything tomorrow – heaven forbid – I would like to believe that I would not go on a killing spree; especially when the victims are those I hold dear the most.
Please remember the family in your prayers.