I saw this story and my heart sank. Why on earth would anyone open fire on those who put their lives on the line every day, pulling people from burning buildings, coming to work each day trying to save lives? In this case, a house in Webster, New York was ablaze and, according to CNN, were shot at as they tried to put out the flames. Two firefighters were killed, others injured.

Two firefighters from the scene are now being treated at a hospital in Rochester, according to Strong Memorial Hospital public relations director Terry D’Agostino.

Boutillier said one of the firefighters was in satisfactory condition.

He also said the fire has spread to a second house in the neighborhood. Firefighters are currently not fighting the active fire, according to Boutillier, because of the gunfire.

…The shooter who killed two firefighters in upstate New York on Monday is dead, Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering told reporters.

So I suppose the NRA wants the fire fighters to pack heat now as well?

When will we have the broader discussion about why so many Americans are so damned violent and have hair-trigger tempers lit over irrelevant bullsh*t. The fact that lethal weapons are the first resort in minor disputes or even just uncertain situations (like this one — in what context should you shoot at a firefighter?!) is extremely troubling.

The question is, how do you name it? People go straight to “mental illness” as a catch all for “they are unbalanced people” when the fact is that one can’t explain away all of this behavior as undiagnosed illness. But should it — is there a societal pathology at work that is going unaddressed because doing so means we have to hold all of us responsible? To solve this, family members, neighbors, colleagues and friends need to own our tempers, our abilities to cope with stressors of live that continue to mount on so many of us ? We need to get over any qualms we have about putting all of this out on the table.

UPDATE: The latest, from CNN:

Investigators believe the suspect, William Spengler, 62, set the original fire, then likely set himself up on a berm with a clear view of the scene and started shooting.

“It appears that it was a trap,” Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said. “There was a car and a house that were involved in flames, probably set by Mr. Spengler, who laid in wait in armament and then shot the first responders.”

Authorities do not know how Spengler — who was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound hours after the four firefighters were shot — obtained the weapon or weapons he used or why he opened fire, Pickering told reporters. As a convicted felon, Spengler was not allowed to legally possess weapons, but he had “several different types of weapons” Monday, the police chief said.