Yet another public act of violence and the best response that can possibly be made is for flags to fly at half mast. A more appropriate response might be the passing of those gun laws but that is not going to happen.
So I propose that all U.S. flags be mandated to remain at half mast until we manage to go one day without someone being killed. Sounds outrageously left-wing and ridiculously optimistic even to me. But the fact is that we have run out of ways to respond in a meaningful way to violence in this country. I’m not sure that any other country could be said to be in a better position for that matter. The world is in a state of seemingly permanent and escalating violence.
Another similarly theatrical response is the decision to treat this attack as an act of terrorism. What is the thinking that goes into that? Isn’t a street gang murder an act of terrorism of one faction on another? Are those not public enough to merit classification as terrorism? How about economic terrorism? Digital terrorism? I also propose that every crime be labeled a terrorist act until we can go at least one day without a crime. To approach this reasonably we must recognize that terrorism is not, by definition, necessarily from another country. We have plenty of our own.
Maybe there is a way to make a reality show about acts of terrorism. Could make some money maybe. It would help distract from any real reality issues such as our boringly deadlocked legislators.
There is little in the news about substantively optimistic events. Sports victories, science discoveries and the non-bleeding news stories fail to impress me. I want to hear that the economy is fixed and that I can sell my house and at least break even. I want to hear that payroll taxes have been rolled back again so I can live less closely to my own personal financial cliff. Haven’t heard anything remotely like that in years now.
I wake every day expecting some shooting, disaster, threat, failure, loss of income, increase in bills, lack of any progress from my government. I have no plans to be a part of any violence and hope that I never will be but I do understand some of the mindset that must underlie those who do participate in such things.
“I’d like to kiss you, I’d love you hold you,
I ain’t got no time for that now” – Life During War Time, David Byrne
If we are torn away from our reality shows, our distractions, our routines that help us believe that fiction that things are gonna be OK then we see the world for what it is, hopelessly deranged. Perhaps the entertainment media should be indicted for their failure to capture enough of an audience to include terrorists who would become pacified too if they basked in the wonders of mass media. No news, no views, then by definition no opposing views, just hypnotic and soothing drivel, but drivel with the power to engage.
The world actually is a place now where it is not unreasonable to think that the best you may ever be able to achieve is to blow yourself up and be able to believe that it makes you saintly, patriotic or both. The problem is generational not national. There are so many places that live is such desperation that we can’t reasonably expect them to be able to transcend such a mindset. We can’t even reasonably expect that of ourselves or even of our children I suppose.
Watching the latest coverage I am increasingly convinced that this is one of those reality shows except in this one people actually get harmed and die. They play these things periodically because it shows how well our government and law enforcement can perform. Before the Boston Marathon show we were treated to the Newtown show and many before that going back to The 9/11 show and more before that. Because pacified people periodically need something to stimulate them and these shows get very high ratings.