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A Heretical Opinion on School Shootings

I did not give a shit about the most recent school shooting in Florida – a fact I struggled to keep secret from collaborators in (ha, ha, ha) real life and imaginary playmates on social media.

Seems to me there are effective measures that can be taken to prevent these types of incidents. And if they’re not being taken, it’s because these types of incidents serve some sort of agenda. No, not an organized agenda – even my conspiracy theory tendencies don’t take it that far – but some collective unconscious psychological agenda. How many people die in these types of shootings every year? Perhaps they’re all sacrificial victims in some cosmological sense. Plus there’s all the ad revenue the media gets to generate playing, Ain’t It AWFUL?


The very best movie ever made about school shootings is Gus Van Sant’s Elephant. Elephant is a very, very strange movie that offers up no psychological insights into the tortured souls of the killers and no theories about American culture or guns. The film moves excruciatingly slowly. Practically nothing happens except at the end of the movie, a lot of people are dead.

Here’s the thing about violence: It’s exciting. Even when you don’t approve of it.

You know the old phrase: The glory of war!

If you really want to stop violence, you take the glory out of it.

That means that the media would have to stop making the killers in these types of shooting famous.

Because I suspect more than anything else, since Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris fast-tracked their way into headlines and history, the perps in these kinds of incidents see shooting up a school as their ticket to fame. Everyone will know my name! they think.

And everyone does!

For a couple of days, at least.

Florida’s gun laws may be wonkier than those in other states, I don’t know. The accounts I’ve read seem to indicate this kid’s weapon acquisitions were by the book.

The kid was also banned from carrying knapsacks on to school property. Although I have no idea how that particular embargo could be enforced. Presumably, there are many points of entry on to high school campuses, and beleaguered school budgets can’t pay for guards at every one.

But here’s a heretical opinion for you:

I have no doubt whatsoever that events like Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland are influenced far less by lax gun laws than they are by CNN, MSNBC, and the nightly news drivel on the three dying non-cable networks that glorify these killers under the pretense of explaining them.

If the powers that be really wanted to control school shooting sprees, they’d work something out with the media. Stop the blitzkrieg beams of focused attention during which the world is supposed to stand still.

If the little shits didn’t think shooting up a school was a way to get famous, I guarantee the incidence of such incidents would plummet.


In other news, I continue in a Mood.

I had two Tax Bwana clients yesterday whose 2017 earnings were in excess of $130,000.

Frankly, people who make that much money should be going to HR Block, not availing themselves of fr-ee-ee-ee services designed for the working poor.

It was 60 degrees out yesterday. Springlike! The limpid sun hanging in the winter sky!

I went for a s-l-o-w trot part way across the Walkway. (It closed before I could complete the circuit.) I am so out of shape!

When I got home, I discovered I’ve been pre-qualified for yet another car loan. Now that I’m a real human girl again, my credit score just keeps going up and up and up.

So I spent the evening cruising cars, working desultorily on the Art Installation, reading Edith Wharton ghost stories, and streaming Monk episodes. Monk seems to be the only filmed entertainment I can watch these days without wanting to throw up. I think it’s the Randy Newman theme song.

This entry was originally posted at http://mallorys-camera.dreamwidth.org/696953.html. You may leave comments on either Dreamwidth or LiveJournal if you like.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 16th, 2018 02:45 pm (UTC)
Yeah, we eat it up & we love it. I even glimpsed at an article that said something along the lines of: and what’s different about this one is that we now have footage from the very students!

I forget all movies, but I still remember that Elephant was chilling.
Feb. 16th, 2018 02:49 pm (UTC)
Elephant is brilliant,
Feb. 17th, 2018 02:50 am (UTC)
We here at Waterlawn had a great family love of Monk. Back before Netflix, we bought every boxed set because both parents and children enjoyed it without conceding any ground. It was true love.

In the vein of sacrifice and gun laws, I'm sure you've seen some of these: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-price-of-freedom-child-sacrifice-and-the-american_us_59e6b836e4b0432b8c11eb18
Feb. 17th, 2018 11:32 am (UTC)
Monk is utterly delightful.

No, I hadn't seen that HuffPost piece. I've been avoiding media coverage almost to the point of putting my fingers in my ears and singing, La, la, la!. But, yeah -- blood sacrifice.

I like guns myself, but no civilian needs anything more lethal than a revolver, a double barreled shotgun and a bolt action rifle with a three shot magazine. Arguing anything else is ridiculous.

But arguing gun control is ridiculous. It's just a massive display of virtue signaling on both sides.

Like I say, you want to decrease the number of school shootings? Don't give them any publicity. It's really that easy.

Feb. 17th, 2018 01:16 pm (UTC)
Have you ever read the wonderful We Have to Talk About Kevin? I agree that we should publicize the shooters less - and there is a movement to never use their names - but I don't think it's as simple as that. Or as sweeping gun control, either. There are countries where many people have guns but they don't have this.
Feb. 18th, 2018 10:46 am (UTC)
Didn't read We Have to Talk About Kevin but saw the movie with Tilda Swanson. A very good movie.

Here's a newspaper story along those lines:


Have you ever seen the film River's Edge? The ultimate teen anomie movie! There's a reason why Pol Pot used teenagers in his army!

There are countries where people have guns and don't have this, and there are also countries where people don't have guns and have perps who mow down dozens of victims in trucks.

The instrument of violence isn't irrelevant, of course. But focusing exclusively on it doesn't really get to the root source of this particular type of violence.
Feb. 17th, 2018 10:01 pm (UTC)
Notice ME or NOTICE me?
As usual, thought-provoking. Sometimes, just provoking. :)

I wonder if the shooters care about publicity for them. Most don't end up being around to "enjoy" the notoriety. A term coined by Timothy Snyder is on my mind. "Sado-populism". It's not exactly on point, but it has to do with people not caring how badly treated they are so long as others are treated worse.

So I'm not sure about publicity so much as hurt. That is, there are people who feel they have no effect on the world at all, that nobody cares much or at all how they feel, and that nothing they do affects the feelings of others. A mass shooting is perfect therapy for this kind of powerlessness. In the moment, there's the awesome power of life and death, which is probably orgasmic for such folks, but I don't think that's what makes shooters plan as meticulously as they do. (I'm not thinking of the sort of "going postal" where someone on an impulse shows up with a weapon and kills the boss and anyone else who is in the vicinity--that's not really meticulous) The goal, I'm thinking; the motivation is, "I can make you feel something as a result of my actions." "If I can't mean something positive, at least I can mean something by making others mourn."

This, I think combines two common suicidal motivations. The first is our old friend, anomie. But the other is a projection onto others of something some suicides contemplate. "They'll miss me when I'm gone, even if they don't care about me now." That is transformed into, "They'll continue to miss those I kill after I'm gone." and that's more assured than the former--which even the most egoic suicide probably knows isn't all that likely.

All this to say that while not putting out the names of the shooter probably is a good idea, something more will probably be required.
Feb. 18th, 2018 10:29 am (UTC)
Re: Notice ME or NOTICE me?
I think we are talking about the same phenomenon more-or-less. When I say the perps want fame, I'm not talking about the type of attention you get from hiring a publicist and posing for pix with Kim Kardashian's behind. :-)

I like guns, but I don't see why any civilian needs access to anything more lethal than a revolver, a double barreled shotgun and a bolt action rifle with a three shot magazine. So, sure. Take automatic weapons off the market.

But that's not going to solve the issue.
Feb. 19th, 2018 05:05 am (UTC)
We have to walk through a metal detector to pay our tax bill at the county courthouse, as our purse/bag/backpack goes through the same xray thing they use at the airport.
If they wanted to stop school shootings, the technology exists.
Arm the custodians, put up metal detectors...problem solved.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )