the circular runner

trying to make sense of violence–a couple more things about the Batman shooting…

In criticism, life, observations, Uncategorized on July 25, 2012 at 6:11 am

I almost let it go.  And I will since this blog doesn’t really tend to take up politics.  But I’m going to be impolitic and say (maybe criticize) how people are reacting to the shootings last week in Colorado.  It’s not surprising that cable news is going nuts with the story, asking people who once knew the killer if they suspected that he would one day open fire on a room full of innocent people.  You know that the news producers want to find that neighbor or classmate who will say, “why yes, actually, I did suspect something,” which we all know is a pile of dung.  There are many reclusive odd-bods in the world who might be anti-social but are not sociopaths.

There’s also the Right, which wants to go off about Hollywood violence while the Left makes its half-ass effete comments about the need for stronger gun regulations.

You all know this.

But if you go to the post before this one and you look at the first comment, you’ll see a rather novel take on this tragedy.  A man named Sam Harrington, a first-time commenter which I am thankful for, left a very thoughtful analysis of what he sees as the reason for the tragedy.  For Mr. Harrington, the answer is economic.  I’ll let you make what you will of this theory, but for now, I’ll summarize, running the risk of oversimplifying.  Put simply, Mr. Harrington takes a page from, of all places, the Dark Knight Rises.  In that movie, the villain, Bane, is a class warrior, literally, and he calls for the people of Gotham to rise up against the well-off and the comfortable.  Mr. Harrington believes, it seems, that this is the same kind of thought process that ran through James Holmes’ mind last week. I’m sure Mr. Harrington was not arguing a defense for Mr. Holmes, but he was making the case that people in need can only take so much before they start the revolution.

In general, I might agree with Mr. Harrington.  There probably will have to be a reckoning of some sort, sooner than later.  Things are tough for so many and then there are the bubble people who are oblivious to the pain.  Living in San Francisco, there are a lot of bubble-types living all around me.  BUT, the ironic thing about Mr. Harrington’s comments, and to a certain extent, all the cable newscasters trying to form their own theories and to the political types on both sides of the divide, is that they are blind to the fact that there isn’t a reason why this happened.  Cruelty is not a science; its fruits are not always easily explained.

And this is where I become impolitic because I don’t think it’s my place to stifle a commenter like Mr. Harrington, nor do I want to make light of theory, punching holes in it. And yet I want to.  I could point out that there were probably a lot of other 99% types in that theater. I could make the case that his argument excuses something horrible by trying to explain it. I feel the self-righteous grad student coming out. I want to tell Mr. Harrington and the newscasters, and the gun people on the Left and the violence people on the Right that they should all just shut the hell up and grieve.

But I’m going to stop myself.  Theories, even overly simple ones, come out of grief, I think, by which I mean, they come out of a need to understand when a movie director and score and a screenwriter can’t suddenly break in with a flashback that puts everything in context. There is no context here. There is only a sad man who took out his sadness on 59 people last week for no one reason, or scarier yet, for no reason we would ever be able to understand.  There is only a void left by this kind of act, and no amount of words or theories can fill it.

  1. My theory: A man’s brain and rationale broke somewhere along life’s path and thus ensued a lifetime of pain for many, his family included..
    There are no winners here and that makes me dreadfully sad…

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