"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead"

"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead"
click pic to reminisce

Six Dead in Isla Vista  

Posted by howard in nyc


I don't think Neil Young will be rhyming that line.  Nothing poetic or musical about this tragic massacre.

This hit me hard, in contrast to the last time an insane man killed a bunch of college students on Del Playa Avenue (2001, four dead when he intentionally drove through a crowd.) I think in large part because my cousin is suffering from recurrent breast cancer and is facing imminent death.  In smaller part because I had visited IV just three weekends prior, walking the same streets.

But affect me deeply it did.  The hateful and random murders caused me to think hard and deep why these things are becoming more frequent.  I was forced to set aside my strong ideas about guns in America (300 million is a fait accompli, any serious attempt to significantly reduce that number will require a government so intrusive as to render all personal freedom a relic.)

I cannot seriously consider that we magically crossed a gun availability threshold at some point in the past decade or so, that suddenly made these shooting incidents occur.  From no angle of this can I reasonably conclude that the guns are the primary problem.  This incident alone, the crazed killer stabbed three victims to death; he maimed several with his car.  The prior Isla Vista mass murder did not involve a gun.

We don't have primarily a gun problem, regardless of my opinion or of the mass knee-jerk emotional response.  We have a crazy person problem.  A homicidal-crazy person problem.

The recurrent screeches and pleas for gun control as a response to crazy people committing mass murder are illogical, emotional and tiresome.  They ignore the arithmetic of 300 million guns.  They indulge in a particularly pediatric fantasy that more government power (and money) can somehow magically protect us from such gun violence.  This childish indulgence ignores the dismal record of the government at prohibiting possession of all manner of drugs.  It further ignores the fact that the particular juristictions that have the most severe government gun restriction (Chicago, New York City and Washington DC) somehow have the most gun violence, and the amount of gun violence is independent of the changes in laws (it's the economy, stupid!)

But the most infuriating emotional argument of those who trust government to remove guns from the hands of crazy homicidal maniacs is that to not pass further gun laws equates 'doing nothing'.

If your remedy, which is already proven to fail, is not adopted, that is the rhetoric equivalent of 'doing nothing'.

Ironically, such a course of thought and action itself 'does nothing' about the actual problem.  The crazy person problem.

Yeah, that is a tough one.  A problem that does not lend itself to an emotionally satisfying answer like 'have the government take away all the guns'.  I ain't got an answer.  I can help frame the question rationally, which is itself pretty rare.

There are probably more of these mass murders in recent years because there are more homicidal-crazy people.  And what treatment/support they are receiving is less effective and less available.  Maybe, some of the 'treatment', like antidepressant medications (SSRIs in particular), or childhood psychiatric meds (Ritalin/Adderal) are the cause.  I have no idea, but consideration of such possibilities is drowned out by the gun debate, as well as squashed by the pharmaceutical profit maniacs.

I think there is a bigger reason.  We have more sick, crazy people, sick to the point of mass murder, because we are a sick, crazy society.  Much sicker and crazier than two or three decades ago.  This is one of the results.

I found myself falling back on the way I was trained to think about problems in my profession.  A sickness/disease model provides a clear metaphor for my thinking about 'why'.

We have a diseased culture/society.  I've ranted at length on this.  Gun violence is not a primary cause--it is a symptom.  To treat this primary illness by taking away the guns is folly.  It makes as much sense as proposing a case of recurrent metastatic cancer, involving multiple organs, be treated by amputation of one body part that is involved and declaring that as the only way to cure the primary disease.

And that failure to perform that amputation is tantamount to 'doing nothing'.

The gun violence is a tertiary symptom.  The problem is crazy people.  The larger problem is a sick society that produces crazy people by the millions.  The prognosis is fucking grim.  Throwing more government power and money at the tertiary symptom will fix nothing, and will certainly make things worse.

There are remedies for our sick society.  There are remedies for the increasing number of crazy violent people.  They are hard, expensive and emotionally uncomfortable remedies.  Like reversing our increasing worship of money, power and war in distant lands.  Or actually treating mentally and emotionally disturbed people beyond prescribing a pill.  Or families being more involved in the support of a crazed, emotionally disturbed young man than buying him an expensive car to boost his self-esteem or calling the cops to check on him.  (Sadly, this creep's parents were finally moved to the correct action--go and see him yourself--only too late to avert the mass deaths.  I don't mean to pile on them; I just wish, as I am certain they do too, that they had taken that action earlier, and saved their son's life as well as the other six lives.)

The number of times that such an incident occurs, the gun thing is revived, and either zero or minimal legislative action results is the most infuriating cycle of all.  The point isn't even to politically achieve significant gun control--it is just to feed some elusive emotional need, to indulge in some ridiculous fantasy focused on 300 million scary inanimate objects (without bothering to count the objects.)

Another symptom of the big sickness.  Emotional satisfaction is all important.  Sure beats the hard work of thinking.

I try very hard not to indulge any of my own peculiar fantasies, regarding our sick society and the increasing numbers of crazy people.  I see the direction we are proceeding, and I see us gaining speed.  More worship of and love of money; more fraud and deceit; less political response and accountability to anything but money, less thought and involvement by the masses in the nearly irrelevant political process; more chemicals in our sedentary bodies.  More war.  Yadda Yadda.  Faster and faster we head ever forward.  The dead young bodies are just another symptom of metastatic recurrence.


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