Monday, December 24, 2012

On the Newtown massacre

Originally written as a comment for this post over at Tam’s:

1. Because the problem isn’t going away (and the media has only been encouraging copycat behavior) the first thing we need to do is to treat the infection with an effective antibiotic (anti-psychotic?):

Institute the Israeli model of allowing the school staff to actually protect our kids instead of hiding under their desks!  That would be an effective deterrent for some and would stop those not deterred in their tracks.

2. To prevent re-infection I would prescribe the following:

As has been said by others, if more in the media would follow Paul Harvey's lead in not giving the killer the (in)fame they crave there might be fewer seeking their (in)fame this way.

Hmm…  Are they misunderstanding infamy as a contraction of instant fame?

As to the root cause:

I can only surmise that a lot of it has to do with lack of respect.

– For authority (parents, teachers, employers or any others /deserving/ of respect (IMHO: respect has to be earned.  I generally give a measure as a matter of course when first meeting someone.  Then it depends on the individual if that measure increases or decreases.  In some cases it can be extinguished entirely.  Even then that would not be an excuse for the kind of behavior we’re talking about here.  But that’s me.  YMMV…))

– For property (It seems that I can’t have reflectors at the end of my driveway without someone stealing and/or smashing them, and one of the homes down the street was ‘tagged’ with graffiti the other day)

– For self (have you seen the way these kids dress these days?!? [/curmudgeon voice]).  Seriously, though, it seems to me that so many people, not just kids, these days really do not respect themselves.  Many see their own lives as more of a PITA than they want to bother with and a select few choose the permanent solution to the temporary problem.  Thankfully only a very few of those chose to take others along on their way out. 

Clinical depression can be an overwhelming soul-crushing burden.  It can make it seem as if there is no other way out and that one’s own life has no value.  If one’s own live is without value how much less that of someone else?  Based on what the media presents it would seem that much of our society is based on fame as a source of value.  Some may believe the primary source of value.  With the media giving instant fame to deceased mass killers with 24/7 coverage in the first days after a ‘suicide-by-major-press-event’ some may believe they can (pardon the phrase) kill two birds with one stone.  They end their own lives as the culmination of the event or have it ended for them through suicide-by-cop if they can’t do the deed themselves and they posthumously get the fame they mistakenly believe will give their life meaning.  By taking away the fame it eliminates a large part of the incentive.  By actually defending our public places and especially our schools even if they still opt for suicide by cop or by armed citizen the number of innocents harmed will almost certainly be greatly reduced.

Or we, as a society, can go on doing what we’ve been doing for the past several decades and hope for different results…

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