Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No Sense To Be Made...

The terrible events in Virginia yesterday will undoubtedly result in the search for some kind of rationale, which can eventually lead to finger pointing, which will result in "closure". The usual scapegoats (video games, music, the culture in general, etc.) will be paraded about and held up to intense scrutiny. People need to find a reason why something like this happened. It's simply our nature.

I'm done looking. After seeing events like this for most of my life (Jonestown, Oklahoma City, Columbine, 9/11, the list is endless), I've come to the conclusion that "reason" simply cannot be part of the equation. There is no sense which can be made here. A terribly disturbed individual or individuals did something which defies all rational thought. There is, and always has been, a proportionate number of people who feel the need to carry out heinous acts. This is an unfortunate fact of living on this planet. It doesn't mean we should lose hope, but I no longer see the value in trying to find out "why?"

Who or what will we be hearing about in the days ahead as a scapegoat is sought?

Video Games
A common choice. Have the games gotten more realistically violent in recent years? Certainly. But anyone who doesn't see the difference between blowing away a zombie on your PlayStation and killing a classmate isn't paying attention. I myself have killed more Nazi's on my computer than perhaps the entire Allied forces in WWII, yet I still recoil when killing a spider in my garage.

Music
I'm sorry, but I will not have this argument. Music and art doesn't shape culture, it reflects it, and again, because an unstable person thinks that a musician is talking to them, and carries out a crime, doesn't make the artist responsible. Next.

Culture
Yes, the culture has become coarsened, but are we as a society more or less likely to have someone snap and do things like this? I tend to think there is a proportional number, but with the instant media we are more likely to hear about them. There are more of us today than there were fifty years ago, hence more psychos.

Guns
Too many guns? Too easy to acquire them? Perhaps, but it is always noted (correctly, in my view) that the law abiding citizen who wants a gun is the only one inconvenienced by the plethora of laws and restrictions imposed. Plus, they are willing to play by the rules when required, since gun ownership is a tremendous responsibility. Enforce the laws we have before adding more. Besides, the gun lobby in this country is immensely powerful, and has weathered storms like this in the past. You are simply not going to get rid of them. Besides, there are other countries which have very similar laws, but a fraction of the violence. Why is that? Is it the Cowboy mentality still permeating our American culture?

There are too many things which don't make sense in our lives. This is one of them. There are too many questions, but no adequate answers.

Thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by this senseless tragedy.
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