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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A proposito

In the ancient world some marvelous structures were built. Of the seven chosen at the wonders of the world only one is still standing: the pyramids of Egypt. There was a beautiful temple named one of these wonders. It was the temple of Artemis in Ephesus built in 550BC. In 356BC it was burned down. The arsonist was arrested and tried. He plead guilty explaining that he was a person who would never be remembered after his death and this was his way of having his name in the history books. He was naturally sentenced to death and the judge ruled his name to be stricken from all records so his name would not go down in history, thus depriving him of the one thing he committed the crime for.
Now no one died in this arson, and you might ask "So What?"
Well it seems to me that today's serial killers and mass murderers have a parallel motive. Serial killings and mass murders are done by nobodies. Nameless and faceless non-entities living lives of quiet desperation. With over 300 million people in this country the overall vast majority of our citizens fit into this catagory. A great many seem to derive some meaning vicariously by identifying with Royal families, athletes, actors, actresses, celebrities famous for being famous. The paparazzi make a fortune invading the privacy of the aforementioned to feed the appetite of nameless, faceless nobodies who look at and read in a frenzy everytime Kate Middleton or Kim Kardassian sneeze.
  • Add to this equation our high stress environment. This economic downturn is making the young adults work longer and harder for fewer rewards. The number of 20 somethings and 30 somethings unable to buy a decent car or afford an apartment, much less buy a house is very discouraging. Frustration breeds thoughts of violence.
  • The American dream has always been a white American fantasy sometimes achieved by minorities, but pretty much taken as for granted by WASPS. The dream is now a nightmare. Getting married, stay at home Mom, buying a house, two cars and having 2.5 kids with dogs, cats, goldfish and hampsters comprises less than 7% of the general population and shrinking fast. So much for Family Values.
  • Factor in a polarized political climate each of which demonize the other ramping up the nastiness like putting rifle scope crosshairs over the other party's candidate and speaking of 2nd ammendment solutions.
  • Include religious loudmouths blaming every bad thing happening on God's wrath changing the Love of Christ to the Hate of Christ.
  • Include the cheapness and ease of access to high powered firearms with mega magazines and their scare tactics blaming Democrats of wanting to ban guns in order to sell sell sell sell. Remember in 2009-11 the bullet shortage? This creates a perfect storm for a lone gunman or a few friends deciding to go out like Butch and Sundance or Thelma and Louise.
  • The deciding factor is that everytime a serial killer is caught comes fame and their names forever placed in the history books. The same for mass shooters. Does anyone remember outside of friends and family members the names of those killed at Columbine? At Fort Hood? The Murrah Building? But we all know or can read the names of the killers in the numerous books and articles written about them. Sure it all pseudo psychological or sociological analysis of why the did what they did, blah blah blah.
Alright what can be done?
  1. Sensible gun control, not the banning of guns, but good God regulate who buys and who can keep lethal force. Don't give me a silly argument that knives are just as deadly. Yes they are, but the magnitude of destruction is not the same as an assault rifle with a 30 round clip.
  2. Stop glorifying mad dog killers. The media's wringing every last drop of grief for the victims is appropriate, but even saying the killer's name or why he did what he did shoud face silence on airwaves and newspapers. There needs to be an agreement not to glorify or contribute to the notoriety of someone who would committ such an act to get 15 minutes of fame.
Will this stop the violence? No, but it might reduce the carnage if those living lives of quiet desperation know thy won't get what they seek this way.
Did it work in 356BC? No Herostratus is the arsonist, but it takes someone really wanting to dig deep to find that name.

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