Overweening Generalist

Friday, December 14, 2012

On the Connecticut school shooting

Okay, this is my perspective as I write this rantish bit to follow: I stayed up until 4:45AM reading and writing, my own typical OG bubble-life. Slept in to 12:15. It's uncommonly cold here in Berkeley - frost warnings over night and a projected high temp in the high 40s today - so as I groggily put on sweat pants and a long-sleeved shirt to go do my yoga, I flipped on the AM radio and heard people arguing about "something's gotta be done" about guns. I thought: yea, of course: the Aurora Massacre, the recent mall killer in Portland, the guy on the NFL Chiefs, etc. No shit. I've thought our gun culture was insane since I was about 17.

But then, my brain still booting up, slowly coming online: I wonder if they're talking about this because of a new shooting that happened while I slept? Then the national news cut in, "This is a special report..." My suspicions were confirmed: 20+ people killed at an elementary school? In Connecticut, this time. That's all I know as I write this. I hit the fat OFF button on my radio and went downstairs to do yoga, then shower to Diana Krall, grab some coffee, get bundled up.

I can blog about this without any more information on this elementary school shooting that I already know (and I know almost nothing). Why? Because, like a recurring bad dream, I've seen this one before, ad nauseum.

A very large portion of the mind of Unistat has been made unfathomably stupid, and having five or six transnational corporations owing all of the mainstream media may have a lot to do with it. If you think people yelling ad hominem epithets at each other qualifies as "discussing the issues," and you were never taught to read and think for yourself, either in the public or private schools or you've failed yourself by not teaching yourself by using your library card, you're gonna live in fear. I guarantee it. And if you're afraid and think They are gonna gitcha, They are everywhere and are Bad because they don't share Our Values (as if you ever really contemplated values in any deep way), then you probably wanna own an automatic rifle. Ya know, the kind the military uses to blow bodies apart with one shot.

NOW: I know there are thoughtful, even-tempered, peace-loving, broad-minded people who own guns. I've had personal experience with them. But I'm not talking about them. These people I call "thoughtful" think there ought to be background checks, waiting periods...you know: SANE things.

But we're living in Groundhog Day-land here, folks. We see it every six weeks. Some unstable individual deliberately commits some unspeakable act, often ending it by killing himself, or doing an impression from film noir: remember Jimmy Cagney in White Heat? He wasn't going down easy. They call it Death By Cop these days: shoot it out, knowing you'll probably lose, but hey: maybe you'll get away. Escape! You never know when you're deranged. Heck, maybe you'll take some of 'em with ya before you go down in a hail of bullets. You'll be famous! And dead. "Top of the world, Ma!"

Yawn: I'm sure by now that the idiot media, who now seem criminally complicit in how fucked up the country is by giving in to the 50/50 idea. Someone who has facts, human values, and is biased towards non-death and killing will appear and say what they say about how we need a sane system of gun control laws that will not trample the rights of gun owners, then someone from one of the NRA PR groups will appear and argue some version of one of these 1.) Because of gun control laws, this happened, and gosh it's terrible. But it's BECAUSE we have some tiny, ineffectual modicum of a gesture toward gun control that allowed all this to happen. Then, 2.) an expert in fascist PR - they have very deep pockets - will appear on Fox "News" and argue that, had the teacher at the elementary school had an automatic rifle her/himself (I have no actual data about the shooting besides 20 plus killed, and supposedly the shooter himself), and been properly trained in military rifle shooting, she/he would've saved the kids's lives, but "liberals" have allowed this massacre to happen, because...something so ridiculous only the people who listen to Rush Limbaugh can take it seriously. And the easiest, most thoroughly predictable one, 3.) With this tragedy, now is not the time to discuss gun control. It's indecent! And how could you "liberals" be so callous in your disregard for the grieving families of this terrible, terrible, gosh darn horrible and "unfortunate" incident? Give it some time before you do what you always do: politicize the suffering of innocent children! Show some class, "liberals."

Oh wow! I almost forgot 4.) a classic, tried-and-true American idiocy: some right wing POS will claim the reason all those children were massacred? Our mental health system is a shambles! Just kidding: they don't care about that. Here's the 4th classic argument by Good Ol' Murrkin fascists who are prominent on the airways: it's because of gay marriage, legal marijuana, and that we don't allow prayer in schools and that the ACLU exists! That's why the kids are dead. Once again: The Liberals have killed our children, and yes, The Liberals and their anti-American agenda will seek to "politicize" the shooting. It's what Hitler and Mao and Stalin and Osama and Attila and Manson would've done, so of course Obama will, too. (If you're reading this outside of Unistat, and you've never lived here, I am only exaggerating slightly. Believe it or not. This is an armed madhouse, a rapidly degenerating Empire, make no mistake about it.)

Wayne LaPierre, the head spokesman for the NRA, who used a classic pre-emptive attack on Obama in 2008, and still does: Obama wants to take away everyone's guns! That's the way "socialists" act. (This is patently insane, and there's no evidence that Obama has done one damned thing about our gun problem/sickness. He's barely even mentioned guns. And the "socialist" meme only flies because of the vast miseducation I mentioned earlier.) Nevertheless, right after both election wins by Obama, gun sales have gone through the roof, and as Ring Lardner said, "You could look it up."

No doubt that the Slippery Slope arguments are being ramped up by these cowards: Now Obama will really want to take our guns, give them to the UN, and it's...totalitarianism! So, the obvious lesson is: quick! Get out the rainy day fund and buy more guns, pronto! And get ready to shoot anyone who looks like they're "from the gummint."

But Obama will only use some flowery rhetoric about "Folks need to know...that violence won't solve anything, and...uhhh...mental health professionals can help you if you're feeling angry...uhhh...stressed-out..." Something innocuous like that. (<----channeling my inner Obama-think here) And nothing will be done. Obama and the Democrats won't do a thing. Oh, they'll rail about it for five days, a week, ten days at the outside, maybe, because they need to appease their constituency. But then the issue will peter out until the next massacre, due just before the Super Bowl. Why? Because, we're so fucked up politically, the 2% have done such a fantastic job of Divide and Conquer, that sane, rational gun control is now a "third rail" issue!

Oh yea. More Groundhog Day stuff: cue the hordes of far-right whackjobs with their conspiracy ideas that, Obama and Holder are orchestrating the whole thing. Why? 'Cuz the more of these mass shootings, the more "libruls"will demand they take away our penis substit...I mean, guns! Yea: It's a Liberal Plot!

I've seen it before, and should I get a masochistic streak tonight and decide to surf the TV "news" I'm sure to see all this...except the last conspiracy thing, which so far only sees the light of media day on Internet, although you never know how insanely, inhumanly low Faux News will go.

Ah yes: to you who are basically on the same page as me, here: How do you feel about "Today's tragic events..." The word "tragic" will be overused. It's not "tragic." It's cyclical. It's predictable. It's a symptom of a national disease. Is it completely disgusting? Yes. Heinous, almost unspeakable death of people who had nothing to do with whatever was fucked up about the shooter(s)? Yes. Do our hearts go out to the loved ones who are grieving now over their sudden loss? Yes. Tragic? No. Read up on tragedy and get back to me. The mainstream media has abused to the verge of mutilation the word "tragedy."

Number of guns per capita, by country.

Finally, let me come up with one for those people who will believe anything: Bob Costas and Michael Moore have secretly bankrolled a liberal Big Government plot, in cahoots with Obama and other Do-Gooders who hate capitalism and love Sharia Law, to cause these mass shootings...the main reason being they hate the Second Amendment and despise the Constitution and Murrrka; they don't think law-bidin' folk should be allowed to pertekt they own! Someone should gun 'em all down, in the name of...of...of...FREEDOM!


Bobby Campbell said...

Yes, sadly yes, to all of that.

A few years ago I stayed up late updating one of my websites, and I put up an image link to RAW's "Guns and Dope Party" as the last thing I did before going to bed.

I woke up to news of the VA Tech shooter, and w/ my late night handy work still up on my computer, I had to wonder if I actually agreed w/ it.

I didn't and I don't.

I had a similar experience upon learning the open secret that Hakim Bey allegedly has leanings toward pedophilia. What do you suppose goes on in temporary autonomous zones then?

Y'know that scene in 'Wilhem Reich in Hell' when our man yells "That's not what I meant!" to the tune of the world turned upside down?

What does an anarchist do when the idealism of it turns out to function as an intellectually lazy dodge out of the fray of the horror of the situation?

Design solutions, I guess...

After Aurora I floated the idea of a baby step that I thought no one could object to: Mental health screenings for purchase of automatic weapons. It got objected to on the basis that this seemed like a "pre-crime" methodology. (by a sometimes reader of this blog)

After several more shootings I wonder if it still seems that way to our 2nd amendment friends? Or if it might work to start erring some on the other side of the equation?

*I tend towards e-prime when in disagreement w/ folks, if some of those sentences clunked a bit!

michael said...

The Hakim Bey/PLW problem reminds me of the omnipresent problem of separating the work from the personality and politics of the Artist. Can we read Being and Time and have our minds blown by all those wild ideas, while knowing Heidegger wore full-on Nazi regalia while lecturing, ending class with the Heil Hitler salute? What about Ted Nugent's music? What about Pound's poetry? On and on. We just have to face the facts and negotiate with ourselves.

A funny idea floating out there: most of these high-profile mass shootings are by white males, so let's PROFILE them!

While I know there are gun owners of high emotional intelligence, I confess I tend to see the NRA and gun culture in general as some of the worst of the mass of Not-Rich.

But why are they so afraid? Lanza's mom had those guns registered to here, and now the story is she had fallen under the survivalist narrative. Even in Connecticut!

I think there's a problem with - this gets to paideuma, the semantic unconscious - less-than-helpful assumptions about male identity and masculinity, but I do think a large part of the material underpinning of this has to do with not understanding economics, politics, and class warfare. When daddy suddenly couldn't find work because of the neoliberal "free trade" agreements that sent his job to China/Mexico/India/wherever, daddy suddenly felt less a man. Mom brings home the bacon? Why did this happen? Well, turn on the radio. Rush Limbaugh got big right around the time NAFTA went through. A coincidence? I never thought so.

Bobby Campbell said...

Emotional plague, eh?

The thing behind the things.

But how much of it that we perceive actually resides in self/other/both/neither remains ultimately indeterminate.

Good! That makes utilizing the final secret of the Illuminati all the more easier.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that you mention the neo-liberal agenda for disempowering men by taking business overseas. There is an intersting book "stiffed, the bertrayal of the modern man" (i read the first chapter and the last chapter, simply becasue I was doing an essay on feminism and lifestyle politics), it argues w that western economics, as it is practiced, has disenfranchised both men and women by co-opting certrain forms of feminist and rhetoric and "popular" male "laddish" views of women. (n.b I am not talking about feminism qua feminism), a lot of feminists still think that everything is partriarchel, but actuuly business at is practiced might have borrowed things from patriarchal discourse, but I tend to think that it has mutated into something completely different, and bassically plays on the gender politics we have these days. I think the increase in concentration on men as mass-murderers, rapists criminals etc and that the only good men in the media now, are law-enforcement (even if they are "toughguys" lie to me etc) or Entrepeneurs, speaks volumes to how men are seen if they are not in the narrow roles which are declared as "legitimate", I think geekery is one of the roles that has taken precedence recently. I think this does increase male alientaion and apathy, though its only one factor in many that lead to these kind of things, not everything is dispositional.

The rhetoric that is under the surface (though I might be wrong) given is that men are naturally rapists murderes, criminals, rubbish with social skills (unless they have a "gift") etc and only by the might of the state bringing in stricter laws can these be overcome, conversly anarchists see the state as the main cause of these kinds of problems. I tend to side with the anarchists, though with an eye to corporations.

one of the biggest papers in england "the Independent" gave nearly an entire issue over to the discussion of this incident. and came to the conclusion that it was mainly to do with the gun laws, and although I think that this has to be discussed and is important it is clearly not the main problem, though prevention is one of the ways to go about solving it.

Anonymous said...

This whole tragedy smacks of the all
Monica all the time media focus.
Meanwhile HSBC is off the hook for
truly horrible crimes and the focus
isn't on the perpetrator and why he
was apparently totally failed by the
society he lived in.
We have some guns to hang, that'll
make sure the next nut who wants to
kill his mother and her students will have to play Lizzie Borden.

As a thought experiment, turn back
the clock, remove the guns from the
situation and look at what is left.
It's too late to save the victims
but maybe if we cure the disease
instead of plastering over the symptoms with more unwise and
knee jerk laws we could all live
in a better and safer world.

Of course Prohibition and the War
on Drugs were so successful we should try it again with a new
evil thing. The Sullivan Act has
been in effect banning "Assault
rifles" since 1934, but media
idiots have re-written the popular
image to obscure that fact.

The true Hel of this incident is
if he wanted to kill innocent kids
all he had to do is go to a recruiter and he could have done it
and been called a hero and wore a
few medals for it.

Now the same nation who routinely
sends young men to murder brown
children is all upset because it
happened here.

And both of these things are so wrong they cannot be explained away
with any rationality.

michael said...

@Bobby Campbell:

>But how much of it that we perceive actually resides in self/other/both/neither remains ultimately indeterminate.<

I couldn't have said it better, although I wish I could've.

But thanks for making the emotional plague connexion with guns. I think we have something there, but the public isn't ready for it yet, is it?

michael said...

@Andrew Crashaw: I'm basically with you regarding anarchism and corporations. Susan Faludi's book - Stiffed - surprised me, because she was becoming a big-time feminist academic star, and then she wrote a book that I thought was so stark, staringly sane: the economic system, as it has mutated, harms both women AND men.

I tend to think the gun laws should be the main point of emphasis after this latest incident - and I hope a straw/camel/back one, at that - but I appreciate anyone who seeks the etiology, without demonizing an entire class.

When I wrote about NAFTA/neoliberal economics, I do think its effects inform the general meanness and willful ignorance that seems so rampant. But it's far removed from why that bright sociopathic young guy slaughtered the kids.

I'm always interested in that which goes unsaid, that which seems buried or occluded. Thanks to all commentors on The OG who venture that way.

Andrew: the gender politics issue seems quite complex, and I see how Power would try to influence how "Men" are viewed, as well as women. But I think more of "reality" is made by humans communicating with each other, outside of the mainstream media, while still being influenced by it. Whatever masculinity "is," however it can be defined, I think it shines through for biological reasons, and people can influence each other in saner, healthier interpretations of what it means to be "male."

It won't happen over night. And I think we will always have a small percentage of violent men, age 15-35 with us. It would be a good idea to make it very difficult for them to get hold of military rifles, in my opinion. Australia did it: they had a mass shooting on the avg of once a year, then some guy mowed down 35 people one day a few years back, the public pressured the gvt, and in 12 days they banned assault rifles, and the incidence of crazed shootings has dwindled to almost zero. And they still watch violent Hollywood films and watch violent vide games in Oz. It can be done.

michael said...

@Anonymous: sorry man: Blogger catches anyone "Anonymous" as spam, so I had to go in and unhook your post.

Glad you brought up HSBC. In case anyone missed this little gem: That bank got caught laundering drug money from the most violent Mexican drug cartels, Iran, and al-Qaeda...and no one does any prison time! They're like states unto themselves, literally too big to jail, which is so fucked up it's hard for me to comprehend the ramifications. A $1.92billion fine adds up to about two week's worth of what they "make"?

But I don't see it as a media conspiracy. Hell, if the public wanted to get all riled up over banks, this is what? The 900th sick-assed story about how bankers get away with everything? No: people can understand the slaughter of innocent children. They get that. It resonates. And makes for great ratings!

You nail the insanity of killing innocent brown kids making the guy a hero. And you also nail the inability or unwillingness to see how our laws and assumptions seem to cause more harm than they're worth. You could be screaming in the wilderness, but I'd rather you posted in places like this spot.

Thanks for adding to the value of the blog with your comments!