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Sunday, April 5, 2009

What the Fuck?

I'm scared, and, for once, you should be, too.

It doesn't matter where you live, or where you work-- where you pray or where you go shopping. It just doesn't matter: wherever you are, you should be scared. If you're not, then I don't know what is wrong with you, but, then again, I don't know what is wrong with everybody else either. Maybe Dr. Phil does, but I doubt it. I think the current situation is beyond even his sophisticated analytical prowess.

In case you have been doing shrooms underneath a 500 pound black woman inside the Batcave for the last year or so, you've probably noticed that a small percentage of ne'er-do-wells and/or maniacs are passing the time by killing a disporoportionately large amount of random people in mass shooting incidents across this beautiful land of ours.

If you think I'm exaggerating, up yours. Courtesy of the website (they just love to stick it to us) here's a bit of what the U.S. of A. has had to offer in the mass casualty department, since January of 2008:

— Chicago. February 2008. Six women are tied-up and shot at a suburban clothing store. Five of the women die. The gunman has not been found.

— DeKalb, Illinois. February 2008. A man opens fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University, killing five students and wounding 16 before turning his weapon on himself.

— Alger, Washington. September 2008. A mentally ill man who had been released from jail a month earlier shoots eight people, killing six.

— Covina, California. December 2008. A man dressed in a Santa Claus suit opens fire at a family Christmas party at his ex-wife's home and then sets fire to the house. Nine people are killed in the home. The gunman later kills himself.

— Geneva County and Coffee County, Alabama. March 12 2009. In a shooting spree that tears through several towns, a 28-year-old out-of-work man kills 10 people, including his mother and a toddler.

— North Carolina. March 29, 2009. A heavily-armed gunman shoots dead eight people, many elderly and sick patients, in a North Carolina nursing home.

— Santa Clara, California, March 30, 2009. Six people are shot dead in an apparent murder-suicide at a home in an upscale Silicon Valley neighborhood.

— Binghamton, New York. April 3, 2009. Up to 13 people are killed as a gunman goes on a rampage at a civic center in the town of Binghamton.

Add to that the mass police slayings in Oakland and Pittsburgh, where two cop-killers took care of a total of seven law enforcement officers: 4 in Oakland, 3 in Pittsburgh.

Kind of makes you want to sit up and say, "What the fuck," doesn't it?

Mass shootings used to be rarities. One would happen every year or so-- maybe spawning a lame and inconsequential copycat incident or two, but rarely anything more. Now, they're as regular as getting dressed in the morning. There's only one question on everybody's lips when these things happen-- well, one question besides "What the fuck?" That question is, "Why?"

Everybody wants answers, and criminologists, sociologists, ethnographers, scholars, talking heads, politicos, reporters, relatives of the victims and relatives of the killers are all scrounging around for that answer like squirrels on an acorn hunt. Everybody wants answers, but I'm not so sure there are any.


They say that "violence begets violence." If they were talking about America, 2009, they may have been right. We pretend that we're a peaceful society, because that makes us feel good-- and we like to feel good. But you don't have to zoom in too close until the cracks begin to show. Peace is just a veneer that America slathers on so that it can sleep at night, but don't forget that, even though Woodstock was invented here, so was gang-bangin'. America might still be the home of the brave, but it's also the home of the lowlife who will shoot you in the face over your designer sneakers.

We love beat-you-till-you're-bloody hockey matches, we love to run over virtual cops and whores in our Grand Theft Auto world, and we love, love, love, love, love our guns-- legally acquired and otherwise. We love to hate, too. Remember those funny looking guys wearing K-Mart bedsheets? Yeah, we invented G.I. Joe-- but we invented the KKK, too, and they ain't no memory. We may have elected Barack Obama president, but don't let that fool you. When Nick Lowe sings the question, "What's so funny about peace, love & understanding?" we're still the nation that can't produce the answer. Hell, we didn't even hear the question-- we're too busy laughing.

And reloading.

"Keep honking," the bumper-sticker on the liftgate of the Jeep Wagoneer in front of me reads, "I'm reloading."

Yep, I think to myself. That's U.S.

I don't know what drives these mass murderers to go out and do the horrific deeds that earn them the inglorious title: mass murderer. I don't know. Most of the end up dying by their own hands, or at the hands of the police, so we rarely get to chat with them afterwards. It's a shame, because they're probably the only people who can explain it to us, we who are apparently so hungry to know. Regrettably, I can understand the motivation behind mowing down a cadre of police officers in a hot encounter: they've come for you, you want to get away. Pretty simple. The motive for killing many cops is the same as the motive for killing one.

I have a much harder time comprehending the impetus for butchering a bunch of elderly, skeletal, demented nursing home patients-- even if your ex-wife that you hate and want to kill works in that facility-- why shoot a bunch of withering, crinkly old Wilburs and Ednas, too?


Hmpf. There's that filthy, stingy, nagging little word again.

I guess I'm one of the whyners, too.

It's tempting to point the finger at old Dow Jones. "It's the economy, stupid!" But I think that's an oversimplification. There's plenty of people in this country who have lost their homes, their jobs, their money, their dignity and they're not going out Swiss-cheesing the neighborhood-- just the same as there are plenty of young, impoverished minorities growing up in the struggling, forgotten ghettos of America who don't grow up to become drug-pushers, gang-bangers, whore-slappers and cop-killers.

Every time the bullets fly and the body counts rise in America, which lately feels like every time the bright golden sun rises, people struggle to find meaning in the bloodshed, like reading tea leaves. They ask poignant, pointed questions of themselves, and of ourselves, of the killers and the victims. They almost always ask "why?" On July 11, 2008, Phil Gramm called America "a nation of whiners." Well, I don't rightly know if that's true or not, but I hope against hope that we don't become a nation of whyners, either.

Let's leave "why" to the frazzle-haired, bespectacled ones in their blazers with elbow-patches. Let's let them figure out "why" for us, if they can.

Frankly, my dears, we don't have time for that theoretical stuff. We're going to be mighty busy, for a good, long while, I fear, just ducking, running for cover, and hitting the floor as we scream,

"What the fuck?"

1 comment:

  1. sorry, i'm going to say it's the economy :P
    i heard about some of these but not all... i honestly hadn't noticed the trend but am not surprised.

    everytime unemployment goes up so does violence.. it's just a correlation that has been proven for a long time. people go ape shit without that Purpose. not everyone. but enough to take notice in the news..


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