reactionary reactions

In the wake of the Mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado, theatre, the predictable has occurred:  everyone with a political or social axe to grind has seized upon the event – or, to be more precise, the national attention focused on the event – and turned it to whatever use they can make of it …

Anti-gun crusaders have held it up as a prime example of why guns of all descriptions should be banned (as if the shooter wouldn’t have found some other way to hurt people, as he was clearly intent on doing). Pro-gun crusaders have held it up as a prime example of why everyone in the audience should have been packing, ‘cuz they’d have put the dude DOWN! (as if everyone in the audience could be relied upon to keep their heads and target the right guy with perfect aim in a dark, tear-gas-filled theatre full of screaming, panicked innocents.)  Mental Health Crusaders hold it up as a prime example of how America has failed to take care of the mentally ill (despite the fact that the shooter was under a psychiatrist’s care), while Death-Penalty crusaders hold it up as a prime example of why we should forget about trying to rehabilitate offenders (despite the fact that Colorado HAS the death penalty, and it evidently did nothing to deter this person.) Naturally, anti-violent-movie/TV/Video Game types have blamed the shooting on the fact that the movie and its predecessors contained violence – while pointing at the fact that the alleged shooter dyed his hair bright orange and declared himself to be the Joker (as if the mere existence of a fictional character that we all grew up with was enough to drive the young man insane and fill him with an urge to slaughter movie-goers).  Meanwhile, the Pro-violent-movie/TV/Video-game folks ( who would probably prefer to describe themselves as the “hey, really, this stuff isn’t so bad, and besides it makes PILES of money” folks,) have been at pains to demonstrate their sympathy for the victims while saying things that amount to “hey, really, this stuff isn’t so bad, and besides it makes PILES of money”, while conveniently forgetting that their products DO tend to desensitize people to the sight of casualties of violence, and DO tend to contribute to morbid imaginings (the products themselves being morbid imaginings!)

And, of course, one victim (who was not, himself, injured) has filed suit against the Theatre, and the Producers of the film, because he suffered the mental agony of seeing a friend shot dead (without denying that the experience must have been upsetting, one has to wonder whether he’d have sued the city if he’d watched that same friend be run over by a bus.)

Naturally, the media, sensing ratings, has been at pains to point out the horror, the grief, and the senselessness, while offering the microphone to everyone who’d care to comment on the event, and going to some length to point out the irony of one of the victims escaping a similar shooting in Canada, only to die in this event.

If it sounds like I’m disgusted with all of them, well, yeah, I pretty much am – not because I disagree with any of the causes mentioned (except the dude shamelessly suing for profit, of course,) but because NONE of it will go ANYWHERE!  It would be one thing if the various parties seized the opportunity to have a genuine discussion, but they won’t: instead, it’s like vendors crying their wares in a busy market-place – they don’t listen to one another, they simply try to out-scream one another for your attention!

The fact is, ALL of them make good points, and ALL of them ignore serious problems associated with the policies they advocate for … Americans used to specialize in compromise – our entire system of government is founded on the principle that the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle, and the policy that best serves the American people is usually somewhere between the two extremes.

Sadly, the system has broken down.  More and more frequently the moderates are shut out of the discussion, leaving only the extremists to shout invective at one another – and it is not in the nature of an extremist (aka fanatic ) to compromise, or even grudgingly admit that someone else’s viewpoint might have SOME validity.

So a senseless tragedy has occurred. Some people are dead, others seriously injured, the rest traumatized (yes, even including the dude who wants money to ease his trauma), and the shooter’s life will be spent in one form of misery or another unless the state chooses to take his life in reprisal. Meanwhile, those who might have brought something positive out of this charnel house of misery will only succeed in yelling themselves hoarse.

Which is a tragedy in its own right.


~ by dourscot on July 31, 2012.

One Response to “reactionary reactions”

  1. If it occurs to anyone to wonder what my stance is on the various topics I raised, you could pretty much count on my views being in the middle, as I implied. People DO have the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, but that doesn’t mean they have a right to own military-grade weapons! ‘Self-defense’, in Syria, means being able to take down a whole squad of enemies; in America, enemies don’t come in squads, so no one should have an assault weapon! They’re not used for hunting, nor are they used to defend oneself: they’re used to commit crimes. Period.

    As for the mental health issues, for the past several years the budgets for State Mental Health programs have been in a complete free-fall. If this young man turns out to be schizophrenic, as I believe he will, seeing a private Psychiatrist would do little good: the shrink in question may have diagnosed him, prescribed meds, may have even provided him with some for free – but she couldn’t watch him 24/7, or make him actually TAKE the meds, and, without sufficient funding, a State Hospital would likely have judged him to be doing fine as an out-patient. Right up to the point where he did something like this to prove them wrong.

    Regarding the death penalty: it can and should be used – on sociopaths and psychopaths who can’t and won’t change. This person, however, is unlikely to fit that class: he was clearly delusional, which isn’t part of the symptom set of either psychopathy or sociopathy. That means he’s likely suffering from an illness that CAN be treated, successfully, with antipsychotic meds. I support the death penalty for people who can’t be made better – most schizophrenics, Bipolars, or other people suffering a disorder of delusions CAN be made better – so it’s worth the effort to try.

    That brings us to violence in films, TV, and video games. I’m uncomfortable with the level of violence in these products – but I don’t believe suppressing them is the answer: parents should play a much stronger role in raising their kids, and should take action to keep them away from these influences till they’re grown enough to REALLY know the difference between real, and portrayed…

    As for the guy suing for monetary recompense because something bad happened while he was sitting there, he should get a freaking LIFE!

    Did I leave anything out?

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