A shooter goes on a rampage. Sickening? Yes. Inexplicable? Not really, I thought, watching the wall-to-wall coverage of just another wounded boy lashing out.
It is the oldest story we know.
Almost every mass killing and suicide bombing has been unleashed by some alienated guy who goes out in a hail of gunfire or a devastating explosion.
What is outrageous is that we haven't found a way to stop it.
Not that some of us haven't tried. For over 30 years feminists have been speaking out about the epidemic we call male violence.
For almost all of that time we've been vilified for trying to make the key point: we all live in a culture of bullying and brutality, and yet men and women do not commit violent crimes in equal numbers.
Ho hum. Feminism today is routinely dismissed as so last millennium, almost snoozeworthy. Either that or we're called man-haters whenever we point to these lost boys and comment on how little interest the system shows in retrieving them. And so we retreat to run the rape crisis centres and the assaulted women's shelters in what is the equivalent of a mop-up operation.
In the meantime, almost gleefully, observers write about how catty the girls are getting on the playground and, when the occasional female does something nasty, the headlines trumpet the new female violence.
Get real. The rape crisis centre phones are still ringing off the hook, the women's shelters are overflowing, the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, unfortunately, thrives. There is not a scintilla of evidence to suggest that male violence has decreased.
It's true that some new and useful work has been done on the issue of bullying, but not much of it deals with the issue in gender terms. We're still afraid to go there, afraid to upset anybody.
The response to the Dawson College shootings typifies our collective fear of confronting the truth.
We're asked to deal solely with the pathology of a single person, "an unstable individual" in the words of the prime minister - words chosen to explain why he's still intent on scrapping the gun registry.
People do get hurt one by one - but taken together, we can see patterns. Girls who are abused go through life being re-victimized unless they're lucky enough to experience some kind of intervention, while boys who are abused grow up to be abusers. How does this happen? Why can't we talk about it?
Blame the video games, say some, as if everyone who plays kills. Video games or any other products of pop culture have nothing to do with it, say others, as if a multi-billion-dollar ad industry weren't depending on the persuasiveness of media images. Obviously, these images support the victimizers, but they don't create them.
Our embrace of war as a global strategy also promotes a particular kind of mayhem.
Not coincidentally, the Dawson College shooter had a brief flirtation with the Canadian Armed Forces in 1999, and doubtless the new blow-'em-up-good recruiting ads will attract others like him. But he came into the army already wounded and if stats are any indication, frontline workers say, probably by another man.
I've spent the better part of my professional life trying to figure out why we resist the term male violence. Using it is not the same as saying that men are inherently aggressive - although, come to think of it, the world wouldn't end and we actually might get somewhere if we considered that. No, usually we talk about how the system promotes masculine aggression and the way society is profoundly gendered. Still, the resistance is huge.
And as awesome as it is that services exist to help female survivors of violence to get on with their lives, we're way behind when it comes to tracking young boys who are in trouble, developing some meaningful data and helping them to break the cycle.
It's called male violence. Name it. Use the term. That's the beginning of change.
It was only when Mothers Against Drunk Driving named the crime and the dynamic that they were able to curtail the slaughter. Many people stopped drinking and driving. We need to do the same thing with this tragedy.
Does it sound like I'm beating an old drum? I wish I didn't have to. Feminists wouldn't seem so dreary if we didn't have to talk about the same thing all the time.