And so we have another "massacre", this time in Aurora, Colorado, maybe 20 miles from Columbine. Pretty soon we can just start characterizing these barbarities as "incidents".
This one is life imitating art. Apparently the young man colored his hair red and called himself "The Joker"; Batman’s arch nemesis was going to spoil the midnight showing.
Our young man had no trouble at all buying four guns at local gun stores, and chemical weapons, full body armor, a gas mask and some six thousand rounds of ammunition over the internet. He had it all shipped directly to his school dorm and to his apartment - over 60 deliveries by UPS alone. Fifteen thousand dollar’s worth of shit.
Did anyone ever ask why this kid, who wasn’t a cop or in the military needed full body armor?
Naah. This is a free country.
As it turns out our brilliant neuro-scientist was a loner and totally forgettable if you passed him on a street or saw him on a bar stool. No criminal record. No Face Book page; no girl friend; no close buddies apparently.
He graduated with honors and then like millions of others couldn’t find a decent job. What’s new?
His mother knew right away when she heard of the killings. Knew it was her son.
The media is already hot into the tragedy cycle interviewing the crying teens, local police, neighbors and of course the "expert" profilers.
Soon we will see the funerals, kids marching with candles, make shift memorials in front of the theater, therapists with tables set up in local schools for those needing "someone to talk to" and help "getting through this".
Then there will be talk of "healing" and "moving on". It is usually the case that the vast majority of those professing to need help and support will have known no one in the theater, know no one who was hurt, lost no one; but they need help anyway. Perhaps they just have trouble handling the fact that this could happen in "their town" - the nice, suburban, good Christian town where they live. Maybe it's kind of like guys who wear military combat decorations and never served.
Perhaps it’s a way to connect to something without really being connected.
The media will be searching for reasons. There has to be a reason.
There are lots of them I guess and in some finite place in space and time they all came together in a movie theater.
The availability of guns - especially assault weapons which no one uses for deer hunting. Chemical weapons and combat gear readily available on the internet, the latest in new guns and armor glorified on the military channel Neither Romney nor Obama will dare mention the word "guns". Too chickenshit - both of them. Only Bloomberg opened his mouth today and uttered the magic word.
"Violence in the media" will scream others; even the movie was violent which is the reason the theater was packed. Our kids are exposed to it from a very early age - in movies, TV, video games, bullies in school.
No one will say how desensitizing it is to the humanity of others. Right now Hollywood is pulling back on the all out marketing not wanting to appear "insensitive". All they are worried about is the money. There's a movie coming out where a bunch of gansters with tommy guns, 1930s style, take to the stage of a movie theater and blast the audience. Don't think we'll see that trailer.
Sure, tens of millions of kids play video war games - the winner is the one who kills the most and accomplishes "the mission". Tens of millions wouldn’t even consider joining the military however; that is for "other people" It's so much easier to play the game.
Conservatives are ranting about how those Hollywood liberals named the evil character in the new Batman saga "Bane". It’s enough to make you want to take out your guns and defend the Constitution!
Is he mentally ill? Finding our Joker mentally ill neatly solves all of our problems. We don’t have to address gun violence, media, video games, bullying, loneliness and isolation.
He must be mentally ill otherwise he would be just like us.
We can’t seem to admit to ourselves that he is us. He is our son, a native son of 21stCentury America where we don't care about anybody but us.
Sitting on a military base outside of Las Vegas or here in Tampa there is an NCO flying a drone tens of thousands of miles away in the sky over a people who cannot make a washing machine and who ride donkeys. Our NCO looks at his screen and presses his buttons to "accomplish the mission". He is not shooting at humans as he obliterates a house or a village.
If he kills kids, which he often does, they are "collateral damage". Our government will offer the parents perhaps $500 in "compensation" for their kid.
This is the "exceptional" society in which we live. We hear the cries of no one. We see the loneliness of no one. Most of us do not know nor care to know our neighbors living three houses away. It’s our dog eat dog, everyman for himself country. We judge our communities by the quality of the lawns.
We don't give a rat's ass if people are hungry, children die of mal-nutrition, veterans are living in our streets, most of the homeless are schizophrenic, people die because of a lack of health insurance, or that we are twelve years at war against a couple of third world nations and have killed millions of Iraqis and Afghans.
He and the others before him, at Columbine, at Virginia Tech are the symptoms of our societal illness.
The media and the toys, the politicians and Hollywood teach our children that real American heroes have no humanity. When the lonely, isolated forgettable young man turns his guns on us, the ones we allowed him to acquire as is his NRA god-given right, why are we so surprised?
My sympathy to the families of those truly affected - those who lost someone or those with someone gravely injured. I've been there.
The rest of us can look in the mirror and take part of the blame.