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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Maybe it was all because I played your records just before

I had some notion that I'd whip up a rant or something, but I'm listening to John & Mary (CD courtesy of The Alabama Sister) and it's just too soothing for rant-writing. So, in the general spirit of rambling, ill-written, self-aggrandizing rants, the following may be considered notes towards the development of a rant (Guaranteed 100% original-insight free):

As awful as the VA Tech shooting was, several times as many victims died this week so far in Iraq.

The shooter's boyifestos don't merit distribution. I'm as curious as anyone, but what's it tell us? He's just another chump who thought the world owed him a suck job. As this Guardian editorial says, school shootings have become a genre, and in this case working in the genre represents an astonishing failure of imagination. That's the best you could think of? A copycat crime? A petulant, meanspirited suicide? And make no mistake, gun fetishists: if you think video games about guns or movies about guns had more to do with this than, y'know, GUNS, then you're so desperate. And you don't need to be. Your precious guns will stay legal, because exactly two congress persons aren't turning tricks for the NRA. The dissonance on guns in our culture is amazing. Here in Alabama the street legality of cop-killer weapons was recently upheld after four cops were murdered for serving a (misdemeanor) warrant, but dildos are BANNED. This is everything you need to know about the Alabama state of mind.

As a highschooler I imagined myself walking through the school halls and shooting people at random. I didn't want to think about this; I just did. All the time. You know why I didn't actually do it? Because I had a sense of what my options were. Options like: suck it up until puberty's over. Once puberty ended those daydreams fled, never to return, and good riddance.

Martin Amis wrote an article about a then-current case in which some guys killed a woman while chanting catch phrases from a horror movie. Amis watched the same movie and found it only inspired him to avoid crappy horror movies. To paraphrase his conclusions, the guys didn't kill because they had a crap movie in their heads; they did it because they didn't have much else in their heads. If you've got a good number of ideas in your head then there's an ideological pecking order working things out in your cranium. Ideas like

"Let's kill someone cuz a character in a crap movie did it"


"Let's shoot people at random because I'm not getting suck jobs"


"Let's break into a school, rape and kill students, then commit suicide because it's better to have a few minutes of monstrous pleasure and then cease than to live a grueling long life"


"Let's blow ourselves up along with a bunch of infidels because a 'man of god' told me to and it's better to have a few minutes of monstrous pleasure and then cease than to live a grueling long life"

find their place in the pecking order real quick. The place is in the barrel.

Phew. Glad I got that off my chest. I'm so glad I'm not even going to revise it for clarity or anything.

Edit: In the proud tradition of NBC News, I'd like to point out that I've used the term "suck job" with extreme sensitivity.


dreamingmatthew said...

Aaron, I read your rant and you know me I was ont of those guys who almost snappd and killed evryone in my high school. I didnt because I had just enough support and like you I could suck it up until I got to college. Although this guy seemed to have sucked it up until hi senior year of college, and was dealing with real mental illness.

3 things.

1. yes more people are dying in Iraq and it is beyond horrible, but that is an understandable phenomenon that although represents a pretty significant horror in human history it is one that we have analyzed and understand. This v tech ting is somehting that is horrendous, close to home and beyond our understanding. So yeah its goign to get more airtime. We need more to deal with it

2. And as for the video. Aaron I WANTED TO SEE IT. Not for some snese of national enquirer facination with the Macabre but because it helps me clarify that hey this guy WAS just crazy and its one of those things that we cant ever completley prevent. Seeing proof that the guy is a nut makes it easier to understand. NBC did white wash it, but we wont know how much restraint they showed unless we see the entire video by comparison we cant judge that. and we arent going to. Also dont forget thta no onw is ever forced to watch anything.

3. Showing a video will not make more nutjobs decide to kill people. There is some crazy guy who will say "hey that made him famous, I will do it too" but if they didnt there would still be som other guy who said...hey I hate ice cream I will kill a bunch of people too.

I would like to chatter at you more but I got to go to work and we will probably pick it up there.


dreamingmatthew said...

hmm okay I dont know If im posting, but what I just trie dto post was that I thought about it and will admit that NBC is hyping th video a bit too much. Although I still think showing the video is okay,the fanfare may be a little tasteless


Aaron White said...

I encourage folks who don't know Matthew to not judge his clarity of thought by his clarity of typing.

I'm not sure we understand Iraq yet; I think we (myself included) are blase about Iraq deaths because it seems like a done deal in a foreign land.

I'm not sure this guy was irretrievably crazy. It seems like his main problem was an inability to socialize and come into community. If he'd understood that he could connect with people, that might have headed this off. All his self-aggrendizing BS is self-pitying macho posturing and comes as zero surprise, but it's his sense of rejection and isolation that lingers in my mind... as well as his faith in violence as the natural means of problem-solving.