Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech massacre

April 16, 2007, we are yet again witness to another massacre by a gunman. When I say "gunman" I am repeating a term that always strikes me as odd. What, and who, is exactly a "gunman"?

I recall a science fiction book I once read about a world where robots where commonplace. Occasionally one would go crazy and attack humans. Of course, no one could ever figure out why. It was obviously something in the circuitry.

This same approach seems to belie our efforts in dealing with these massacres. We don't assume that we are dealing with the same humans, with the same behaviors, developed over millions of years, and that our means of operation are different. We assume there is something different about us. It isn't our access to weapons that make killing easier, quicker, and by extension, more prone to our impulsive behavior. It's something incurable. That happens to be very convenient to the millions of middle-aged, white men whose bodies are slowly betraying them to age and who feel more secure knowing they have the means to take anyones' life, easily. Is it about freedom or fear?

A "gunman" speaks of an unstoppable automaton, a blank, staring machine a la Arnold Schwarzenneger, who simply goes from victim to victim, slaughtering all in his way. It does seem to describe the mindset and demeanor of many of these "gunmen".

There will be a lot of people falling all over themselves in the next couple of days. Police making excuses for their slow responses (and actually, I don't blame a single one for not rushing into a massacre like a hero. I would do the same thing. Why make more victims?). The NRA will be issuing their usual claptrap. The usual stream of diarrhea will emanate from the White House. Of course, if these people had been murdered by terrorists, soldiers would be parachuting into Iran. but as long as it's just a crazy kid from China, or whatever damaged misanthrope posing online with his firearms that we can write off as a lost cause, and that there is nothing anyone could have done, the story continues. Americans being killed by Muslims, now that is worrisome. Americans being inevitably killed by people with access to firearms are an important sacrifice to the tree of liberty, whose roots must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots...or random victims...


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