when the American bill of rights was orginally created, the framers did not imagine a future where citizens felt an entitlement to be judge, jury and executioner of their fellow citizens.
the America of the time was a less settled state with threats of foriegn government, but the founding fathers also had the idea that the form of government that they created might someday fail and need to be replaced.
sadly, this has actually come to pass and for the very reason they feared – Christianity – has invaded the halls of government and perverted the secular Federal republic that they envisioned.
The idea that you must be armed against your government is a truism in many places in the world that are theocracies or dictatorships, where the government feels entitled to execute citizens in addition to legislation
and this then permeates all levels of society where people now accept that murder, blackmail and other activities is the means to get ahead or resolve differences or solve problems or worse, just to get your 15 minutes of fame or got out of this world in a big splashy way that you think will get you remembered.
which is one of the biggest dangers of the media coverage of mass shooting events, is that others who are contemplating or heading down that path are then encouraged to have a bar to exceed, as if that’s a good thing to be remembered for.
the reality is that no one just snaps.
not for mass shootings and not for suicide either
there are always signs and a pattern to the behaviour and people need to learn them and pay attention.
more imporantaly, when someone does report the authorities, be that police, workplace management or school administration – needs to take the reports seriously and investigate.
families need to pay attention to behavioural changes and especially if a person who was depressed or angry suddenly gets happy – because that is the true danger period – because more likely than not, it’s because the decision has been made.
not to do it – because that is practically a forgone conclusion, so it’s not a decision of if, but a question of when – and deciding “today is the day” – is what is making them happy, not that they resolved their issues….but that they are going to payback everyone who they perceive hurt or slighted them.
even when and sometimes especially total strangers or other scapegoats….
and a last thought on this subject:
There’s prevention of future crime – which gun control supports
Then there’s dealing with current crime, which gun legislation can assist with by the increase in charges and penalties for involving weapons in crime and not as negotiation tools for plea bargins.
But the reality is that as horrible as gun crime and violence is, the white collar corporate money crimes do more harm to society than violence – even though in the US alone, murders have an economic cost of losing 1 million hours of productivity a year, adding the decades of work that the murdered people could have contributed to society, never mind the cost to their families and friends for the loss of their person and the qualities of joy and happiness they potentially brought and maintained in the world
Perhaps it’s time that we looked at violence as being against the victims and their family/friends instead of being against society and balance the interests of victims of violence crime vs the criminals and consider the mass economic crimes of corporations as being against society.
The needs of the many will always surpass the needs of the few.
Anders Behring Breivik
Shooter/Bomber on Friday, July 22, 2011
I wasn’t going to blog about the most recent homeland terror assault, I didn’t even particularly want to read about it. But there’s an aspect of Breivik that is too dangerous to ignore – and it’s an issue that I have been working through on this blog previously.
The quote above may well be his own, but it s a haunting familiar line to any Star Trek fan – it is a Vulcan idea that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one – and it is often uttered by Spock or other character that is about to willing sacrifice themselves to save others.
It is a very noble thing to sacrifice yourself to save others – but it is rather less than noble for someone to decide to sacrifice you for ideas that you do not share or a cause that is not your own or without your knowledge and consent.
People who knowingly join up with extremist groups have an expectation of being sacrificed or expendable – people who are going about their day and who die in an attack by these same groups or individuals – are bystander victims not participants.
While Spock and Kirk – as well as other characters in the Star Trek universe – were always willing to lay down their lives and accept losses in the course of duty – they rarely accepted having to sacrifice each other or others, even when it mean saving everyone else. There was always the breathless continued efforts to rescue stranded or trapped people until the last possible moment that disaster could be averted – no, well, we need to close the containment door immediately while people were trapped – it was always, if we don’t get it closed in x number of minutes, the ship will be contaminated. They usually managed to save everyone and not leave people behind.
This is the stumbling block in using violence to bring about social change – if your idea of how society should operate was valid – then it would be compelling on the face of it – by the word and not by the sword.
If you cannot convince people, you are not entitled to compel by brutal force and terror. That is not a sustainable basis for a thriving and productive society – it only works until someone willing to be more violent comes along and violence suppresses productivity, invention and social
Breivik is actually subverting this idea by putting his own individual needs above the few he killed and the many he seeks to impose his order upon by use of violence. This is his need to resist change, his need to be at the top beneficiary tier of the status quo – worse, the very thing he claims to oppose – Muslim rule – is what he intends to impose as Christian rule. He seeks to assert his own religious rules above secular law.
Breivik is a fanatic seeking to impose his idea on everyone else – but since he is unwilling to put in the work to bring about this order by forming or joining a political party and rallying people to his cause – he is outside of the social hierarchy and seeks a short cut to obtain it – violent revolt in a nation with no recent history of civil unrest and no appetite for it – in another country, it is possible to ignite the factions in civil war to overthrow the government with a grassroots uprising.
But Breivik was alone, not expressing a widely enough held sentiment nor effectively tapping into the existing social anxiety and natural xenophobia and change resistance, disconnected to the people of Norway but tapped into the ring wing movement that is rising in Europe – if anything, his actions of attacking his own people, worse the youth of his own people, will unite people peacefully to stand against him – which is the best response to resist escalating his paranoia into anti-immigration social movements and allowing him to actually achieve his goal by igniting more conflict.
No matter how hard done by and disenfranchised a person or group feels in the larger society, you cannot correct this wrongdoing by doing worse by other people – which is what violence is – doing worse than what you perceive was done to you.
I think it is very interesting that two of the most discriminated and vilified groups in western secular societies have not engaged in violence to achieve social justice and equality – gays and atheists.
It seems to take the addition of religion, in particularly, righteousness and the belief that the righteous individual knows best for everyone because they are divinely directed or inspired, to bring about their vision by any means – especially violent and discriminatory means – possible.