Monday, July 27, 2015

Week of 07/27/2015

Don’t Ask Why If You Don’t Want The Answer
So it’s happened again.
Another seemingly senseless shooting in a movie theater.  Just a little over three years after the “Dark Knight Rises” massacre in Colorado, and while the jury hearing that murder case is debating whether the shooter deserves to be executed, we have yet another theater shooting in Louisiana.
This time we have a 59-year old man by the name of John Houser who shows up at yet another midnight premiere of a movie, and opens fire, killing two and injuring nine others before turning the gun on himself.
And to make matters worse, this happens just a few days after two more nationally-publicized shooting sprees.  One involving Navy and Marine personnel in Chattanooga, and one in a church in Charleston.
And, once again, people are wringing their hands and wailing to the heavens and asking the same question.
The air-fluffed ego-driven media personalities click their tongues and shake their heads and they ask “Why”.  The radio personalities – even those not normally political – suddenly become amateur preachers and they click their tongues and shake their heads and ask “Why”.  The newspaper editors splash the carnage on the front page and then write lengthy editorials all asking the same question: “Why?”
No, you really don’t want to be asking that question.
You really do not want to be asking “Why”, no matter how many times we have to go through these kinds of tragedies.
Because, quite frankly, we collectively cannot handle the real answers to “Why”.
Oh we have our usual suspects: TV, Internet, violent video games, guns... all inanimate objects.  The fact that the Charleston shooter and the Louisiana shooter were neo-conservative extremists allow talk radio to get lumped into the pile of suspects.  The fact that the Chattanooga shooter is Muslim instantly makes his act one of “domestic terrorism” and allows the cons and neo-cons (all of them Christians, one would presume) to bring Islam into the pile of suspects, because, you know, it’s... Islam.
But none of it really matters, because despite all of the hand-wringing and the speeches and the funerals and the follow-up legislation and regulation that has followed these things, it has not stopped nor will it stop the next nationally-publicized tragedy from happening.  All it will do is give fascists more reasons to clamp down on our non-existing “free nation” until that next tragedy does happen.
Some think that now is the time to bring in metal detectors to the theaters like they do with airports, schools, government buildings, and stadiums.  Great!  Just what we all need; yet another reason to not go to the theaters!  Go ahead and kiss those multiplex cinemas goodbye.  I’m sure Comcast and DirecTV and Netflix are just salivating at that idea.
While we’re at it, why not put those things in at all the parks and playgrounds?  All of the stores and churches?  Put them in the malls and the banks and in the workplace and the bus stations and train stations, and all the public transportation services too.  Never mind that the ones in the airports have done such a bang-up job finding dummy weapons.
And how about all of those gun regulations?  Somehow they didn’t stop the last few shootings.  Go ahead and ban guns outright.  The mass-killers will simply use knives, like they do in Asia.  Or like one person just did in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.  Plus there is no doubt there will be some pompous jackass that will step up and say “This never would’ve happened if someone else in that theater was armed.”  Right, because that worked so well in Tampa Bay, Florida, when a retired cop shot and killed someone in a theater for texting in 2014.
All of it for naught.  All of that effort wasted.
So when that next time happens, we’ll once again wring our hands and cry out “Why?”
Because let’s get brutally honest here... we really do not want to know the answer to “Why”.
Because we live in a society that has a piss-poor record of dealing with mental illness; where you’re expected to figure out problems on your own, even when that disorder prevents you from doing so properly.  We refuse to recognize when someone has a problem, we accuse them of “faking it”, we negate the seriousness of their problem, and we expect them to keep up with everyone else and carry on like nothing’s wrong.
Because we live in a kleptocratic society with a plunder economic system that takes and takes and takes, and we don’t realize that when you take away all the things that tie a person to society, they’re going to want to take it out on the easiest and softest targets.  We assume that we will all unrealistically default to taking every piece of adversity heaped upon us with noble stoicism.  It’s a delusion that has repeatedly come back to hurt and kill us.
Look at Hauser... a man who, according to some accounts, had bi-polar disorder, who lost his family, who lost his home, who lost any source of permanent income, who lost any kind of connections to society and was living on the edge of in terms of both reality and sanity.  Do you honestly expect someone like that to somehow not hold a grudge to what happened to him?  What he did to his own home after it was foreclosed should have been a hint right there.
The LA Times says that he had “hate in his heart”.  Convenient, but hate doesn’t just manifest itself.  Hate is taught, even if it’s self-taught.
But, no, we’d rather say it was “terrorism”, like the folks at Fox News tried to do when the news broke out about the Lafayette shooting.  It wasn’t a disturbed person with a grudge and a gun, according to Fox News, it was “Islam”.  It’s not about the disturbed person with the grudge, it was the gun, according to some liberals.  Yes, because an inanimate object can somehow command otherwise peaceful people to do deadly things; which also explains why we want to give our local police officers military-grade weapons and tanks and then wonder why they’re operating like third-world junta leaders.  Whatever our pet cause is, that’s supposedly the real problem.  Not the disturbed person who felt screwed over one time too many and now wants to take the world to hell with him.
Because if we accept the real answers to “why”, then we’d feel compelled to actually deal with them.  We’d have to deal with the plunder economy and our don’t-give-a-care attitude when it comes to mental health.  We’d have to deal with the real trigger-points in society instead of sticking our heads in the sand and blaming it all on our pet causes.  And it’s an ongoing problem, so we’d have to deal with those matters continually.  It’s much easier in our simplistic minds to blame it all on our pet causes, work on getting them outlawed, then chalk it up as a personal win and then be shocked when the next tragedy happens.
So the next time we have these tragedies – and, yes, there will be next times – we really have no business asking “Why”.  The answers to that question are right before us.  We just refuse to accept them.

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