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Monday, December 17, 2012

Atrocities Great and Small

     I have held off from writing about the Sandy Hook shooter because I didn't want to be included in the herd of bloviating bullshit artists that have infested the airwaves and newspapers since about thirty seconds after the event happened. I also needed to sort out my own grief so that this didn't turn into one long, primal, scream of rage. Rage is, I think, an appropriate response to the actions of the defective soul that committed such a heinous act, but it isn't very effective for conveying ideas.

     As a parent, I am heartsick over the loss of the lives of the children. Wanton slaughter of anyone is bad enough, but it is additionally horrific when it's children. Children represent hope for our future; the untapped potential that could be the next Einstein, Fermi, Edison, or any of a million other possibilities. For their lives to be cut short is to see all of that potential snuffed out in a matter of nanoseconds, it rattles our worldview, our security in the belief that all will be well when we are gone. To see the photos of those smiling faces and to know they ended up as bloody heaps lying on the school room floor, well the heartbreak is audible to the naked ear.

     Of course, not everybody was as heartsick and saddened as John Q. Public was; some were damned near ecstatic that a slow news day had finally livened up. We know this because almost immediately, we were inundated with speculation from the contemptible horde of talking heads that would sell their souls to be seen as 'relevant' in today's world. Instantly there were the incessant parade of experts speculating on 'who', 'what', 'where', 'why', and most tantalizingly, 'how'.

     Unfortunately, when The Moment had arrived, instead of taking a candid look at the root causes of the 'why', they all, to a person, reverted to the inane, stupid, little minds that they have time and again revealed themselves to be. How? Simple. Instead of waiting a period of time for the police to sort out the facts, they attended the initial briefing by the Chief of Police, and then the frenzy of speculation and hypothesizing began.

     Oh yes, there were the feigned looks of sadness and sympathy, the mewlings of "what a tragedy" and "how horrible". But the truth is, in this day and age in which professional news agencies are quickly being replaced by The New Media, where corporate camera crews are upstaged by anyone with a cellphone camera, the very idea that a crisis had arisen that required them to do more than sit at a desk and read a prepared script was, no doubt, a satisfaction bordering on ecstasy. The problem is that their 'examination' of the incident and the surrounding circumstances has become nothing more than boilerplate. They trot out the same, tired, theory every time some nut job has a microchip slip into overdrive; too many guns.

    They speak in bold, outraged, tones, their voice appropriately emphatic when they utter the words "assault rifle" and "automatic weapon". They labor to compare the  current event to the other bright spots in their journalistic lives; Columbine and Aurora. They tick off the casualty count like the score at a basketball game, delighting in each bloody corpse, and excitedly describing how each corpse was "...shot multiple times...". They breathlessly relay each new detail, each titillating tidbit, as it becomes available. And when nothing is forthcoming, they make stuff up as they go along.

     But it always comes back to the guns.

     On the surface, it seems reasonable to assume that guns are the problem. And surface is what the media is all about. We know from their endless analysis that there were twelve people killed at Aurora, thirty-three at Virginia Tech, twenty-six at Sandy Hook, and thirteen at Columbine. Eighty-four people killed in four separate incidents in which some evil individuals picked up a gun and set about to inflict murder and mayhem upon people whose only crime was crossing their paths.

     They conveniently leave out cases like the Happy Land Fire and the Bath School bombing, either of which are at least as heinous as any of the aforementioned incidents. The Happy Land Fire was caused by an individual named Julio Gonzalez. Mr. Gonzalez had followed his ex-girlfriend to the Happy Land Nightclub where, after getting into an argument with her, he was ejected by the bouncers. He returned later, armed with about a dollar's worth of gasoline and a match, and burned the place down, killing eighty-seven people in the process. That's more than all of the deaths at Aurora, Virginia Tech, Columbine, and Sandy Hook combined.

     The Bath School bombing killed thirty eight children between the ages of seven to fourteen. The perpetrator was Andrew Kehoe, the school board treasurer who was angry about losing an election. His weapon? Dynamite and pyrotol; an incendiary substance that Mr. Kehoe had spent months planting throughout the school building. Get that? He had been planning this massacre for months!

     Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer and diesel fuel, the 9/11 terrorists took over the planes with box cutters, the point is this: Evil people do evil shit because they're evil. Period.

     The shooter at Sandy Hook didn't do what he did because the seductive power of a gun inspired him to do so, he did it because he was evil. The Columbine shooters did what they did because they were evil. Virginia Tech? Aurora? Happy Land? Bath Township? All committed by evil people.

     These were not people caught up in a crime of passion, nor were they soldiers suffering the fog of war. These people plotted, planned, and equipped themselves to do the maximum amount of damage in the shortest amount of time. Their whole plan was to murder as many people as possible so as to cause as much grief as possible, and then, as a final 'fuck you' they killed themselves, denying us the opportunity to see them brought to justice.

     On the other hand, they were the answer to the prayers of Democrat politicians all across the nation. Democrats had lost all of the momentum on gun control as a result of the monumental rejection of gun control as a crime control method. No one was buying into the tired, old, saw that gun control was a means of preventing crime, because the facts were proving otherwise; those cities and states where guns in the hands of the citizens were common enjoyed lower violent crime rates than those with restrictive gun control laws.

     Chicago was becoming a national joke due to the number of shootings they had every weekend, despite guns being completely illegal within the city limits. Outside of The Beltway, Washington D.C. is one of the most dangerous cities in the country. The crime in these cities was so rampant, that even the Mainstream Media couldn't avoid reporting it. So, when some evil piece of shit shoots up a movie theater or elementary school, there is a wave of delight throughout the DNC, because it means that they have a chance to become (there's that word again) relevant once more. Because in politics, you have to justify your existence by doing something. If you aren't in constant motion, the mundanes (that's you and me) might get the idea that government isn't really all that necessary. Once government is discovered to be unnecessary, the mundanes might get the idea to make government smaller. That means less money to play with. And money, despite political platitudes to the contrary, is truly what motivates politicians on either side of the aisle.

    As counter-intuitive as it is, the answer to evil people with guns is, good people with guns. Not the police or the military (although they certainly have their part) but Joe and Jane Average.

     One of the people at Sandy Hook that I will remember forever is one Victoria Soto, the teacher that hid her students in a closet and then put herself between the shooter and the kids.  I would rather that, upon seeing this vicious killer, Ms. Soto had blown his brains out with her legally concealed handgun and then led those children to safety. Instead, She was gunned down. Gunned down because of the refusal of the powers that be to acknowledge that evil people exist. They refuse because too much of their political power and too many careers depend on incidents like this for their continued prosperity. That is why, despite evidence to the contrary, despite the lessons of Israel and Thailand, those that shape and control the culture through legislation and media inflict institutional helplessness upon us all.

     Ms. Soto's blood is as much on their hands as it is on the shooter's.





    

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fiscal Fatigue

    All I hear about is the Fiscal Cliff and how this country is going over it. To that I say, "Good." We have invested way too much time and wealth in assisting those that would loot this nation of its resources so that they may either continue to wallow in their miserable existence, or continue their opulent lifestyle. And sometimes, it's difficult to determine who is who.

    We encourage, dependence on government to the point where there are families who have spent generations on welfare. We reward failure in school, in business and in life. Some executive invests his company in something that eventually brings the company to ruin and he is given millions of dollars as a bonus. A company starts up by manufacturing a product that nobody wants, and the government gives them a bailout, costing the taxpayer billions, and they go under anyway. Later, it's revealed that the "bailout" was a thinly disguised payoff to a campaign donor of one stripe or another.

    Congress ignores or ostracizes people who tell the truth. and embrace the liars, charlatans, and con men that tell them what they want to hear. Moreover, they use voodoo economics and outright lies to create an atmosphere of panic, all in order to amass more power and influence for themselves.
Mencken said it best, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamoring to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    The infuriating thing is that, when someone, who is demonstrably smarter than all of them combined on the subject of Economics, explains reality, they act as if they heard nothing. Even worse, they think we are stupid enough to believe their bullshit. They make the often fatal mistake of confusing powerlessness with ignorance.

     It's a dangerous game. Powerlessness is okay when it's shrouded in the cloak of prosperity. Joe Average doesn't mind the games government plays as long as his quality of life remains unchanged. It's sort of the same philosophy as those people that live in the same neighborhood as a notorious gangster: as long as our neighborhood is safe, we don't care what he does. The problem for those in government is, they have begun diminishing the quality of life of those that live on Main Street, and when the Middle Class feels threatened, they can become dangerous. And when they finally decide enough is enough, there might be a bunch of government types going over the cliff with the economy.

    Maybe if a few go over, the rest will see the error of their ways. Let's hope we don't ever need to find out.