Tag Archives: murder sprees

The Persistence of Unreality

assault riflesNot only do we have vapid debates in America about which beer is better, which sports team is more fearsome than which other sports team, and the like, but in the wake of our nation’s latest mass shooting, in which 20 children under age 7 perished, now we debate about whether it’s appropriate to debate. Now is not the time, many people attested this weekend, to talk about gun control. Some folks threatened to “unfriend” others on Facebook if those people persisted in posting about mental health support or gun laws, saying that they were obviously making it about “political issues.” Never mind the idiom about the personal being political that’s been around for 40 years, perhaps there is a time for mourning and a time for reflection about what’s led us to these moments. I say moments because a 6-year-old died in the Aurora, CO shooting, a 9-year-old in the Tuscon, AZ shooting  of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and of course there are hundreds of kids under 14 killed by guns every year in the US that get next to no media coverage. But even when the guns in an incident were purchased legally, even when there is no long history of mental health instability, and even when the majority of victims are defenseless kids, some among us insist on sticking to the same talking points to defend the status quo. Let’s look at these talking points, and hopefully it’s okay, four days later, to start some kind of dialogue about gun violence and gun rights. If I get defriended on Facebook, so be it.

If we don’t have assault rifles, we won’t be able to prevent the government from becoming a fascist state–Let’s see . . . the Department of Defense carries a budget of more than $680 billion. Read More…

Spree Killer Contradictions

I refuse to write his name because he’s not the point, the is-he-or-isn’t-he faking psychosis mass murderer who destroyed dozens of families last weekend in his quest for selfishness. As much as we want to aim our fingers at him in judgment, this act of violence isn’t about him, just as it wouldn’t be about the lone terrorist who stuffed a bomb into his underwear, or the two disgruntled men who took out the Federal building in Oklahoma City all those Aprils ago. I don’t absolve any of these men of their acts, certainly not, but I can’t abide providing them the public attention they crave and that they receive from so many media outlets.

One wonders where people even get the idea (CSI) to gun down (Call of Duty) large groups of people (The Closer, NCIS) in a twisted sense of justice (Breaking Bad, Dexter) or superhuman power (The X-Men, The Dark Knight). And we could ponder why we see these events as solely the actions of a broken brain (Criminal Minds, Numb3rs, The Silence of the Lambs) are at their core individual episodes and not related in any way to larger systems that have a perverse need to produce violence.

I just don’t know how we get here, where a stream of life-ending bullets descends onto a crowd gathered for a movie, and it takes everyone too long to realize they’re actually under attack. Susanne called this aspect of Friday night’s tragedy particularly sad, and she’s got a good point there. Who are we as a culture that extreme violence is so much of our contemporary entertainment narratives?

Also weird to me is the utter silence around potentially productive conversations we could be having right now but aren’t. The National Rifle Association balked when people were upset about a tweet they posted after the shooting:

NRA tweet

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Redefining Terrorism

ter•ror•ism: the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. —Merriam-Webster Dictionary

ATF building in DCLet’s take a closer look at this. The goal of the terrorist is to change the operations, lifestyles, and structures of a society through fear and the use and threat of violence. The IRA hoped to “secure the independence” of Ireland by getting the populace to reject England’s rule and later, to take back Northern Ireland. Blowing up buses and assassinating royalty did change life in Great Britain, creating an entire industry dedicated to preventing damage from hand-set bombs, changing subway and roadway infrastructure, and policing. Read More…

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