Tuesday, May 22, 2018

School Shootings

John Kass thinks they are symptoms of a sick culture.  I disagree. I don't think it is reasonable to draw conclusions about an entire culture from a group that is statistically so small. These are strange and dangerous people. In another era, they would have done some other strange and dangerous things. Once the seal is broken, and it occurs to people that they can go in and shoot up a school, that becomes a more likely path. Looking for deeper cultural explanations is like reading the entrails of goats.


Texan99 said...

The response to the school shootings, though, surely is a sign of a deranged society.

james said...

The fringes we will always have with us, but the ways the fringe-ites express themselves seems to depend on culture. We can probably learn something by comparing how they act in different cultures.

IMnsHO we should try the experiment of not reporting the pictures or manifestos of the school shooters. Used to be that a suicide wasn't reported--that may still largely be the case; I hear of some but don't read of them. Celebrities still make the news though. Pictures of the families of the deceased, pictures of the culprit in chains, OK. School pix of the culprit looking cheerful--absolutely not.

Earl Wajenberg said...

I sometimes wonder if it isn't some kind of hellish fashion or fad. Which I think is similar to what AVI said.

Grim said...

What do you do about strange and dangerous people? I am a strange person, at least if by 'strange' one means that I've done many things that relatively few other people have done; I can very readily name several sets of two things of which I am the only person ever to have done them both. (E.g., I am the only person ever to both carry a rifle outside the wire in Iraq, and also to win a particular prize in Philosophy.)

I'm also a very dangerous person, as Gandalf said of himself.

"Dangerous!" cried Gandalf. "And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord. And Aragorn is dangerous, and Legolas is dangerous. You are beset with dangers, Gimli son of Glóin; for you are dangerous yourself, in your own fashion. Certainly the forest of Fangorn is perilous—not least to those who are too ready with their axes; and Fangorn himself, he is perilous too; yet he is wise and kindly nonetheless."

The union of 'strange' and 'dangerous' may be a perilous place, but I am not convinced that the solution is to become less dangerous ourselves. It may not even be to become less strange, depending on what is meant by 'strange.' Perhaps we should all be more dangerous, and somewhat more strange.

lelia said...

Reading this and comments makes me want to get your take on an essay by somebody I don't remember as well as a title I don't remember, but the gist of the article is the characterization of school shooting as slow motion riots. He says that all of us need to see a certain number of people do something against our principles before we join in.

Texan99 said...

Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/19/thresholds-of-violence