You know, we all talk a lot of shit on a day to day basis. In any particular conversation, any one of us may say something to the effect of "I am going to kill the next person who blah blah blah--" or "I hate that guy so much I'm going to fucking blow his brains out," etc. Violent idioms are a common part of our language. On a daily basis we bombard ourselves with violent imagery, we watch incredibly violent movies, play video games where people get run over, eaten by hideous monsters, shot in the face, etc, and of course the nightly news is filled with the effects of violence in our lives and society. But when something like this massacre occurs we still get pretty horrified at it, we still can't understand how and exactly why someone would do such a thing.
The resulting media firestorm from this tragedy reminds me a lot of Micheal Moore's 2002 film Bowling for Columbine, so I watched it with this latest event in mind. If you haven't seen it lately you can basically take the word Columbine out and put Virginia Tech in, it relates rather well to the situation at hand. In the film Moore asks why exactly this type of thing happens here in the United States and not in other countries that have similar violent histories, exploitative media, crime, poverty, and repressed youth that we have here. Besides falling just short of calling America fundamentally fucked up He doesn't really come up with an answer. Whenever something like this happens nobody seems to know.
Well, I'll tell you what the problem is. There is a really good reason why we get things like school massacres and random acts of extreme violence here, and this is it: It's becasue compassion has no place in America. Our society rewards people who take what they want no matter who gets hurt. To us, if you're poor or disadvantaged, then somehow that's your fault. It's that cutthroat competitive undercurrent that drives everything we do, that we can look at a starving guy sleeping next to a dumpster and not give a shit, we can drive to our jobs and shop at the stupid mall while the fruits of our economy go to killing people half a world away.
What, you don't think people are this heartless? How many times have you heard someone complain about homeless people, the "Don't give them money" speech when you see a guy begging with a cardboard sign. How many of you have thought that yourselves? I have; I've walked by a dirty bum and been repulsed by him. We all have. It's in our nature. The travesty that we allow people to live like that in the first place doesn't even enter our minds. It's Somebody Else's Problem, and even if I want to do something about it I can't, so fuck it. It's who we are as a nation, don't try to deny it.
We live blissfully ignorant of the true evil that goes on around us on a daily basis. It's not just poor and oppressed people. It's in the extremely superficial way we treat each other. What was wrong with Cho Seung-Hui, what was it that made him flip out and kill all those people? He had no friends. I know it and I don't even have to read the stupid news reports. He had no friends and probably got fucked with all the time, probably hadn't gotten laid in quite a while, probably had the idea that he was going to end up washing other people's clothes just like his parents, just had no hope that anything in his pathetic life would change, ever. Because that's the same problem that ALL of these people have whenever something like this happens, but you're never going to hear about it becasue the news people always gloss over this particular angle of the story.
Our society crushes itself and by extension crushes the individual, or a better way of putting it, in order to survive in such a socitey the individual must adapt by banding together and crushing others. In such a society someone always looses. Once Cho was branded a "loser" by his peers he never had a chance. Truth is most of us are able to weather this effect. At a national level our society may be sick beyond repair, but at a microcosmic level we Americans do a pretty good job of comming together. Our communities are probably more tightly knit than anywhere else in the world. But this example shows that there are some people who slip through the cracks. When "losers" get desperate and get a hold of guns, this is what happens, because nobody cares about them.
You know, all it takes to stop this kind of shit is to try being nice to people for a change, stop living in fear of everything, and quit assuming that everyone who doesn't look like you is going to kill or rob you. Fat chance of that happening. So every couple of years expect to see another random shooting, another misplaced tragic massacre, becasue it's who we are, as a people. It's my fault, it's our fault, so own up to it because it's your fault too. Is there anything we can do about it? I don't know. For now it'll probably continue to be Somebody Else's Problem