Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Virginia shooter - updated

David Seaton's News Links
Certainly having guns available facilitates these killings, but guns themselves are not the heart of the story. A long time ago, when I was a boy, America was filled with guns like today, nearly everybody hunted or had something in a drawer or closet, but these massacres didn't occur. I really don't have a clear idea of what has changed. What is certain is that something has changed.

My working hypothesis would be that because of the exponential explosion of the entertainment culture and the proliferation of video games since I was a boy that extreme violence has become primarily a masturbatory fantasy world and that people are moving into it from areas of craziness that in the past found other outlets. I would be surprised to learn that the Virginia shooter* had a past record of violent behavior or even overt hostility. DS

* With reader's permission, I'll update this post as we get more information on the perp.

Update: It seems we are looking at a two part crime: the first being what used to be called a "crime of passion". I hesitate to call that "normal", but, in fact, we have one of those almost every day in Spain, as traditionally over-mothered Latin men find themselves unable to cope with newly emancipated Latin women. I don't know enough about Korean mother-son relationships to draw any parallels here.

The second part of the Virginia massacre seems to hew to the "all American killing spree" scenario.
Now the shooter's creative writing teacher says his writings were "troubled" and that he was referred for "counseling". This is going to be more interesting than we thought.

Now it appears that the shooter may have been sexually abused as a child...
"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:6
Eight Years After Columbine - Editorial - New York Times
Yesterday’s mass shooting at Virginia Tech — the worst in American history — is another horrifying reminder that some of the gravest dangers Americans face come from killers at home armed with guns that are frighteningly easy to obtain. Not much is known about the gunman, who killed himself, or about his motives or how he got his weapons, so it is premature to draw too many lessons from this tragedy. But it seems a safe bet that in one way or another, this will turn out to be another instance in which an unstable or criminally minded individual had no trouble arming himself and harming defenseless people. In the wake of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre — in which two alienated students plotted for months before killing 12 students, a teacher and themselves — public school administrators focused heavily on spotting warning signs early enough to head off tragedy. As the investigation of the Virginia Tech shootings unfolds in coming days, it will be important to ascertain whether there were any hints of the tragedy to come and what might be done to head off such horrors in the future. Campuses are inherently open communities, and Virginia Tech has some 26,000 students using hundreds of buildings over 2,600 acres. It is not easy to guarantee a safe haven. READ IT ALL


Anonymous said...

Hmm the immature American society accepts violence as a solution instead of identifying it as a weakness, nobody would dispute that. Btw. it's nice how you defend the gun culture but don't forget here in Europe we're many centuries past that.

But now some desperate souls who would've never raised a stir choose this form of suicide that includes some form of psychopathic payback.

After all the suicide numbers in the 'developed' countries are always quite phenomenal and kept largely secret. If people knew about this ugly side of their society they'd understand how badly these shooters have lost. There recently was a case like that in Germany, and because the guy had spread himself all over the internet (including a personal diary etc) most people came to this understanding.

It was strange to see how the corporations who owned the websites etc of the german suicider immediately started purging his materials, then people started to put up mirrors etc. It was highly interesting to see how the corporate media reacted in that case, with massive censorship and sensationalist villification, but people who had a chance to actually learn what makes this kind of loser came to wholly different conclusions.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

I am not exactly defending the "gun culture", simply testifying that it exists and that I belonged to it, in the same way that every Spaniard has at least Catholic grandparents.

If you remember Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine", Moore went up to Canada where there are even more guns than in the states, it being a hunter's paradise, but where they don't have these mass killings, the point he was trying to make, as I understood it, was that Canada, with socialized medicine and a less competitive, "winners and losers" culture was a more human society, that produced less stress and hostility than the USA. Personally I think he hit the nail on the head.

It really does look like this shooting is some sort of Marxist textbook example of the pathologies of inhuman, tardo-captitalism.

As the story develops will learn more about the shooter and perhaps we'll see what made him tick.