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  • Writer's pictureHoward McBroom

The Human Time Bombs Keep Exploding

A few days ago in Buffalo, Minnesota, a 67-year old man named Gregory Ulrich walked into the Allina Health Clinic and shot five people. Ulrich had been making threats for years, saying that he was going to carry out a mass murder at the clinic, resulting in him getting a restraining order. Ulrich was no stranger to the police; on top of making threats, he had also gotten himself into trouble for abusing drugs and driving under the influence. He was clearly troubled, so it should not be a shock to know that a few days ago, he walked into the healthcare clinic he had been threatening and started shooting doctors and nurses, killing one and injuring four others. The woman who died was a medical assistant with two young children. I can’t help but think about her; she had a nice family – a husband and two kids – and a good job. She must have kissed her kids goodbye that morning, then driven off to start her day at work, not knowing this would be her last day alive. How do you tell two young children that their mother isn’t coming back home?

There are so many ways in which Ulrich could have been stopped. He was a classic human time bomb who had been making threats for years. He had a restraining order prohibiting him from coming near the medical center and was even brought to court for violating it. He ended up pleading guilty, which should have landed him in jail, but the judge dismissed the charges and he was set free. Because of that, this tragic event was able to happen and five people ended up getting shot. There are so many people like Ulrich out there, where their hate keeps building up inside them until they finally explode. He’s now in jail and has been charged with one count of second-degree murder and four counts of first-degree premeditative attempted murder. This guy was bound to explode, but he could have been stopped. If that judge wouldn’t have let him walk free, he might’ve been in jail earlier for violating the restraining order and ultimately couldn’t have shot those people at the clinic. That woman would still be alive and her children would still have a mother. We need to find a way to diffuse these human time bombs and I think I can help with that. I have some insight into the way these people think and feel, so I could help them before they commit violent crimes. If I could talk to people like Ulrich, maybe I could make a difference. Maybe they would listen to me because I understand them. That’s what I want to do, help these people.

I agree with inclusion, diversity, social justice, and racial equality, but I don’t think we’re going to get those things if mass murder keeps happening. People are not willing to pay that price, so we need to find a way to get violent people the help they need. For example, when guys like Ulrich first enter the criminal justice system, we should evaluate them and then refer them to specialists who can help. Ulrich had no skills for doing any good in the world; all he knew was hate. He had problems that weren’t being dealt with properly and as a result, he kept getting angrier and angrier until finally, he walked into that healthcare clinic and started shooting people. This needs to be stopped. We have to find people who understand how these criminals think and get them into their care, because someone who really understands these kind of people is going to have a much better chance at stopping them than somebody who doesn’t. The judge who let Ulrich go free did not understand him. He turned him loose into the world and because of that, a poor medical assistant and her children paid the price. I wonder if she had time to understand what was happening to her, that she was dying and would never see her children again. I wonder if she realized that right before the light faded from her eyes.

Yes, this world is wonderful, but it would be a lot better if we could stop human time bombs from exploding. Please let me help.

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