Connecticut killings “unthinkable?” Unfortunately, just the opposite.
December 18, 2012
Yes, the killings in the Connecticut grade school were horrifying. As was the theater massacre in Colorado, the shooting in a house of worship in Wisconsin and the brazen take down of a Congresswoman in Arizona. That the Sandy Hook event was beyond terrible is unquestionable.
But one thing this latest rampage was not is “unthinkable.” Not only was this crime utterly thinkable it barely qualifies as surprising. Let’s face it. Guns and scary people are relatively common. Put the two together and, well, we see the results.
In some respects I think it is denial of plausibility that keeps the door open for these terrible acts to continue. Stop thinking naively and maybe we’ll get somewhere. Aren’t you tired of hearing that these atrocities never happen in theaters and schools and churches? Christ almighty that’s where they always happen.
Alas, we cannot rid the world of weapons and crazy people. They define the human condition as much as anything good in the world. In some ways even more. Every culture is and has been fascinated by evil. While it is true most of us deny it exists in our homes we mythologize it everywhere else. Case in point the last three movies I saw were Skyfall, The Expendables and the latest iteration of The Bourne Identity. Chances are you saw one or two of them as well. These films are about nothing if not scary people and weapons. Lest you think I’m launching into a sermon about violence and popular culture, there’s no need. Of course there is a connection. Crazy people act on dark impulses. Less crazy people don’t. And since we’re all a little bit crazy shit happens.
Whether you believe evil exists menace most certainly does. I can’t know but I’m guessing most of the nastiest crimes ever perpetrated were committed by people who did not consider themselves evil. Scarily, just the opposite. Including Sandy Hook. That’s menacing.
In the face of such conditions even the wisest among us are torn. We debate gun control. Mental illness. Crime and punishment. Whatever our stances, the big picture reveals violence in society is inevitable. Horrifying acts take place in real life all the time. Let’s stop calling them “unthinkable.”