Friday, October 02, 2015

Nehil Novum Sub Solis

How many times have I said "here we go again"  in the last year?  I suppose everything else said about this latest school shooting will be as predictable, as overused and as useless.  Here we go again.

Will we hear more statistical gymnastics arguing that rampage shooting is on the increase because of this factor or that factor alone and has nothing to do with the successful promotion of the genre as a way to go out in a blaze of "glory?" Is there something about our society that produces a generation of  existentially challenged young males? Is it really all about a fictional increase in gun ownership or a fictional increase in the deadliness of modern guns and ammunition?   Ask at your own risk, you're either a gun-grabbing Communist or  a crazed gun nut to anyone who disagrees.  Here we go again in hopelessly polarized America, demanding that we "have a conversation" where I shout and you shut up.

Will anyone stop to ask why, if violence is exploding, is it so concentrated in the schools? With everyone shouting and yelling has something gone wrong with American culture? Will anyone ask if there are other factors other than that modern guns look more threatening than equally deadly older guns?  Will we look at handguns in general or press the repeat button and replay the "semi-automatic" recording?  Will we do anything different at all?

Why aren't we asking about the apparent increase in drive-by and gang related shootings in certain areas and the apparent decrease in other areas?  Is it that we don't want answers but only a stage on which to act out our our little dramas?  Children are being shot on the streets in West Palm Beach but peace reigns in my nearby community.  Why?

This is horrible, of course but I have to ask whether the response is more about sloganeering, wishful thinking and hysteria than anything helpful.  Everyone wants answers, or so they say, but I suspect they only want answers that support their prejudices and opinions.  I want more questions. I want that conversation many people pretend they want.  I want someone to ask why the flurry of post office shootings started and then stopped rather than continued along the trend line people were drawing.  I want to know why no one is showing us graphic representations which, from what I see argue that over the last century there are many peaks and many troughs in school shootings.  In no case does any extrapolation prove long lived.  Regression to the mean seems to be the law. Can we talk?  Can we look at the numbers?

I'd like to know why we never seem to get past the "something must be done"  and "something must be done by the Federal Government" and rarely ever propose something that's legal and possible and doesn't rest on the fatuous presumption that laws stop lunatics, that bans make a difference? Can we propose that life in Manhattan has different needs than life in Kodiac Station?   Suggest that crime and violence have multiple and complex etiologies demanding  complex and multiple approaches which may take a long time to work and you're a pariah.  "when do we want it - now!"  Some things never change.

Will this story be hijacked by the "War on Christianity?"   Will we have to endure weeks of self-pitying, neo-Babylonian lamentations?, with tired and vague demands?  Of course. There's nothing new.

We continue and we continue with jibber-jabber about types of ammunition and the devices that hold it, we rattle on about "style" and we continue to frame everything in the most extreme, hyperbolic, inflammatory, fear inspiring and inaccurate  terms.  As with so many emotionally driven and emotionally rationalized themes in America today, no one is interested in working with any one else.  Taxation, public debt, Racism, addiction, disease and vaccination, Secularism versus the Christian State.  Laissez faire Vs regulation -- it's all Hobbes' universal war: me against you, my action committee against yours, it's the struggle for primacy, not for a solution.

" I will not name the shooter,”  

said  Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin and I share his feelings.  We've made folk-anti-heroes of  some deadly and deranged misfits who have problems with schools and students and teachers and can't think of any other way to air their grievances, but to kill themselves and take others with them just like all those sad miscreants around the world who shoot up public places or blow themselves and others up with home-made bombs or fly airplanes into buildings.  Everyone has a straw man to punish - mad bombers, mad shooters, arsonists as well as all those who demand that something be done, but my thing and my way, of course.

Banning booze didn't reduce alcoholism, banning needles and banning drugs made it worse, reducing highway speed limits didn't save lives or slow anyone down nor did the fraudulent "assault weapons" ban have any affect on anything.  I suspect that nothing we'll hear in the coming days about how this or that changes everything will be different.  Ban this, ban that. Take polls with forced choice questions, loaded questions, false dilemmas and  loaded terminology: extrapolate trends and think most magically about gun control.

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