Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Neverending Sequel

As a supervillian, James Holmes is not the Joker, he’s the invisible man.  All reports indicate that he barely had any trace.  No one knew about him.  No one cared.  His only social interface was an old Myspace page where he was shown to have no friends.  No one has come forward to call him a friend.  The only person who even acknowledged him at all was his mother, who simply said "You have the right person". He was the quintessential atomized loner. In our wonderful world of social connection, which we've been sold is the inverse solution to the lonely crowd phenomena, he drowned in plain sight.

There have been a number of sites that have been set up to help the victims of the Aurora violence and certainly I wouldn’t discourage anyone from contributing to any of these, but what we should do to prevent this kind of thing-which seems relatively unpreventable- from happening again is actually fairly simple on the scale of rhetoric, if a bit more complex in terms of logistical implementation:
Don’t let anybody fall through the cracks.  Don’t buy a gun, ever.  Encourage your friends and family members not to buy guns.  Stop conceal and carry laws.  Stop shooting and eating animals.  Stop the need to ever own a weapon whose purpose is to put holes in living things.  Stop wanking off to cinematic violence.  Stop celebrating representations of violence that don’t seem concerned with the repercussions.  Recognize that violence is overwhelmingly a problem represented by one gender and discourage the culture of competition and emasculation by men who don’t fit the stereotype of “winning”.  Stop encouraging state violence.  Legalize drugs, create living wage employment opportunities for minority youth,  and stop the inner city demand for illegal weapons.  Stop perpetuating the idea of a society that can’t be trusted. Stop allowing corporate ontology to turns our lives into cinema.   Stop giving people like James Holmes the headlines they want.  Stop airing grievances by those who encourage violence as a legitimate methodology for correcting undersirable state behaviors that can be overturned through democratic means.  Stop the culture of solipsism. Hold each other tight with the knowledge that we can’t prevent all bad things from happening.

The Onion is right in that we know how this whole sloppy affair will play out because we’ve seen this movie before.  It’s time to grow up.  If that means taking away the toys of those who’d rather pretend they live in the wilderness than a society, so be it.   Of course, if you’d like to keep on reading these headlines in the years to come, you’re welcome to continue on as it’s been.

CORRECTION: Apparently, Holmes's mother is claiming that she never indicated that she knew her son would be the correct suspect in a cold blooded killing spree. Her answer "You've got the right person" was a response to police asking her whether she was Holmes's mother. Yet, it's unlikely this mythology will ever disappear completely since it fits so nicely into the narrative we'd like to believe about lone killers and how there's nothing we can ever really do to stop them from striking us again.