Saturday, August 11, 2012

Incident at Oak Creek

This tendency of certain rather pathetic white males to indulge their anger and psychosis by wrecking havoc on the unsuspecting with guns is most disturbing.  It is disturbing in part because guns are so readily available, which means that such creatures can count on being well-armed when they decide to kill people (perhaps in a strange effort to impart some sort of significance to their lives, which seem so lacking in achievement and so full of failure).  But it may be something we must live with, at least here in what Warren Zevon once called "the home of the brave and the land of the free, where the less you know the better off you'll be."  We have too much vested in guns in this nation, including perhaps for some of us our self-regard, such as it is.

It's also disturbing that this man was once a member of what the media insists on calling the Army's "elite psychological operations" unit.  One would hope that those who become members of this unit are tested for psychological stability, or would at least have the ability to recognize psychological deficiencies as well as take advantage of them for military purposes.  It's true the Army got rid of him, eventually.  Perhaps a general discharge should raise red flags when it comes to purchasing weapons.

Can it be that this shooter caused such harm merely because he had (not surprisingly) trouble in his relationships with women?  It would seem that in that case he would have murdered the women in question, alone or in addition to others.  Given his connections with white supremacist groups, though, it's more likely he killed because he thought those he was killing in some sense threatened that supremacy.  As such groups are not known for the scope and sophistication of their knowledge, it wouldn't be surprising if he thought the Sikhs, who very effectively rebelled against Muslim dominance, were Muslims themselves.  It seems others have come to the same very irrational conclusion and harassed Sikhs since what we call 9/11 (the incorrect report that this shooter had a 9/11 tattoo is somewhat disturbing as well).  Than again, those killed and injured also must have enraged this man by virtue of the fact that they were not white and, what would normally have been fortunate for them, unlike him in many ways.

In the United States, it seems these events don't result in gun control.  Instead, they apparently prompt more people to acquire guns.  It may be they believe that they will be better able to avoid being killed through random attacks by angry, disturbed, pitiful white males by doing so.  Most regrettably, they may have grounds for that belief, given our evident inability as a nation or society to prevent such attacks from taking place.  But when we buy things we're inclined to use them, and fearful people with deadly weapons pose dangers as well.

Perhaps the inculcation of self-control and respect for others is needed at an early age, now, in these so less than happy times.  It seems it is not taught, typically, in schools and perhaps it should be.  We can't expect parents to do so, as it's likely they lack such virtues themselves.  Once we are able to convince ourselves that such things may be taught without teaching religion (which may be a difficult thing in this country) the Constitution should be no barrier.  Will the American oddly fetishistic conception of religion allow us to teach virtue to our young?

This is an interesting question.  It's probable parents will think (1) that the government has no business instructing their children in the essentials of morality; or (2) that teaching morality requires the teaching of religion, which means in this country teaching the Christian religion.  As to the latter, there will be those who feel this is good and those who feel it is bad, and those who feel it cannot legally be done regardless of whether they think it is good or bad.  The result will be that nothing will be done, in public schools at least, and perhaps this is why nothing along these lines has been attempted in the past.

Perhaps what we'll end up doing is requiring that our children be taught the use of guns.  We may as well supply them with guns while we're at it.

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