Thursday, April 19, 2007

Treading the Fault Line

When an event such as the one at Virginia Tech occurs, my first reaction is that of remorse for the victims; my second is wondering when the blame assessment will begin.

From what I could tell, the initial blame-game started Monday afternoon with the campus police and their possible failure after the initial crime scene. By Tuesday I was beginning to see 'news' media personalities blame the campus officials for not contacting victim's families fast enough. Wednesday brought finger-pointing stemming from judge rulings, professor's action and student's concerns. The attempt was made to involve the gun purchases but, unfortunately for the media and Blame Enforcement, both handguns had been purchased legally by the crazy guy as dictated by Virginia gun laws. Now, here we are at Friday and not only are people still looking to find a reason behind an insane person's actions, but one television network is being blamed for displaying material sent to them by the aforementioned fruitcake. And it doesn't end there. I actually heard one reporter focusing blame on the fact the classroom doors could not be locked and had no windows, which prevented anyone from seeing where the nut-job with the guns was located - not bothering to mention that if they could see the lunatic, the lunatic could see them. For me, if some psycho's going to be shooting at me, I'd rather be shot at through a solid door with no line of sight than through a window with decent aim.

Then, on top of everything else, sprinkled throughout the past few days I've heard rumblings concerning gun control, points of view on mental health professionals, and, of course, the usual suspects of violence in music on television and in video games. It's absolutely amazing to me how a vast majority of the population has such a strong desire to find some type of explanation for an event that, in truth, has no solid explanation except for the fact that the event was perpetrated by an unhinged individual. The people who feel the need to make 'sense' of a mentally unsound act remind me of what Morpheus said in The Matrix:

"But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it."

The people who need a reason are, for whatever reason, unable to fathom such a demented act as being random and unpredictable. That entire concept would unbalance the neat, tidy and relatively safe (as well as cutoff) world in which they live. They believe that with new laws, better restrictions and more of anything else that could help, they should never have to be reminded that such an event could ever occur, and no event means no failed explanation. Win, win. These are the same people who will now try to stereotype mental illness and place restrictions on diagnosed individuals which will only lead to people who might actually require therapy and/or medication to not seek out help for fear of being placed on some kind of watch list.

Basically, there's always going to be a wild card so, as difficult as it is to accept, we might as well get used to it. The most recent gun toting loony may have fit a pattern but many who fit the same pattern would never go to such an extreme while another individual with an entirely different pattern, would. Some will be judged unfairly and, I realized yesterday, I could easily become one of the judged. For example, here are two descriptions of myself:

1) I've never been married, I live alone in a very clean and looked after apartment, I'm neat (as in appearance), in shape from working out and eating right, I can get a little 'misty' watching certain movies, I love to cook and my best friends have always been females.

2) I'm a white male, I live alone, I keep to myself, I'm a very quiet neighbor, I don't go out much, my windows are always dark, I have no pets, I'm very meticulous and I rarely have visitors.

As hard as it may be to believe, I am not gay, nor am I a serial killer.


Chris said...

A very thoughfull post. I always laugh at the blame culture out there. They keep forgetting that there is this thing called free will that keeps getting in the way. It can be responsible for beautiful works of genius and also horrible monsters. I'd much rather have free will than a society of robots.

Your descriptions of yourself make me laugh. We should swap recipies as I'm a bit of a chef myself.

John Taylor said...

Hi Chris and thanks.

You're absolutely right - I'm big on the 'free will' thing, as well.

As for the exchange of cuisine construction, I'm always open to expanding my culinary horizons.