“People are fed up!” I’m told. “People don’t feel safe!” Uh oh, I’ve heard that before, are we going to vote to invade all the states that start with Co? Everyone hates living in a police state until the moment they suddenly want a police state, and then they wonder why they live in a police state. Understandably, in such existential moments, people want someone to protect them, to take over; but if that’s impossible they will settle for the appearance of a larger power differential– they will willingly weaken themselves to create the illusion– in their own head– that their protector is that much more powerful. Yes, just like the gimmick in BDSM.
“I’m outraged!” someone will have written on Facebook. “This can’t go on!”
The louder people yell for change, the more things will stay the same. You’ve all argued vociferously for or against gun control, I’m sure, but how many of you did something about it– called your Congressman, which is your only (albeit miniscule) avenue of power? Or do you think they read your twitter?
But anyone can say that yelling won’t help, things won’t change, but my point is very different: you are yelling so that things don’t change.
Frantic hyperactivity to mask impotence, frantic hyperactivity to signal to some omnipotent entity that you are trying to make things right– it’s the description for what’s happening now and the definition of obsessional neurosis. That could be coincidence, I guess.
Well here’s what both sides of the debate can agree on: “The media should stop publicizing the killer’s name! It makes killers think they can be famous, getting their fifteen minutes of fame.” Tip: If you find yourself in total agreement with people you wanted to murder in the last election, you’re wrong.
It’s interesting that we think spree killers are motivated by fame, an idea so entrenched it is immune to critical examination, we assume that that must be what drives people, crazy people doubly so. That would be an example of projection. Or perception. Whatever. This guy left no manifesto and obliterated his computer on his way out. Fame? Sounds like his problem was he felt overscrutinized, but I’m no shrink. Unless he thought he was playing Candyland he did it out of rage. You know what’s even more interesting? That you don’t think “rage” is a satisfying explanation, but “fame” is.
“But constant exposure on CNN does spur copycats!” Oh, yeah, because what every twenty-something homicidal maniac uses as an identity touchstone is the news programs targeted to a demo twice his age and three times his estrogen level. You think they are motivated by what they see on CNN? What year do you think this is? You think they want to get on the local news? They don’t even watch TV! I know your heart is in the right place, but are you seriously arguing for a world where someone decides what information is suitable for you to know? And even if some killers motivated by fame, for this to work, you can’t cause a media blackout of a killer’s name on the TV news only, you’d have to black it out on the entire internet. Does anyone have a killswitch for the internet? Keep yelling like that, someone will.
“But now’s the time for action!” Note the date, February 13, 2013, it is the day you will stop talking about this tragedy, it is the day you will simply say, “that’s the system, I guess, we yelled for two straight months, but nothing ever changes.”
I arrived at that date in a semi-scientific way: that’s how long it took Occupy Wall Street to die of ennui, and it’s worth pointing out that those people had youthful energy and infinite free time. You know who they put in charge of changing gun policy? Joe Biden.
Google Trends supports me:
N is Virginia Tech, H is Giffords, B is Aurora, and etc, note they all run about a month, and the dotted lines in the graph is Google’s guess– they give it a month. This is just a horrific massacre, so you’ll be in for two. Then it’s Superbowl, Oscars and Season 16 of Dancing With The Stars.
“Will nothing ever change?” Oh, one thing will, can’t stop the steady march of authoritarianism.
Since you don’t have the courage to look to the inevitable conclusion of your opinions, I’ll do it for you: there’s absolutely no chance that guns will be illegal, so “gun control” means tighter control of who gets guns.
In America, if the word “control” is anywhere near a social policy issue, then to your left will be its unwitting executor: psychiatry. “They already decide financial benefits, criminal responsibility and who gets more time on tests, so why not mandate a psychiatric clearance for gun owners!” Because it’s madness. Of course I’m not opposed to this in theory, because in theory is the only place where it would be conceivably valid or reliable. In practice you will have a guy judge you based on his own prejudices, or his fear of lawsuits, or on the negotiated fee. Why not have a gypsy run some tarot cards? At least when it all goes bad you can blame the cards.
Which is the whole point: the system is designed to fail in specific and predictable ways, because a tragedy that is the result of a failure of the system is much easier to live with than a tragedy that happens for no reason, even though they are equally common and equally dead. Which is the whole point of the frantic hyperactivity. It’s not to prevent it, but to feel like it is going to be prevented. I realize this doesn’t sound very satisfying, but on February 13, you will realize it was.
No related posts.