Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Accelerated Brutality

By the time I was ten years old, three national figures had been assassinated in my lifetime: John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy. These slayings, I think, laid the foundations for a time of turbulence that we see accelerating around us.

Both Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford survived assassination attempts. So that's two more presidents (who we know of) who had to dodge bullets.

But of more concern to me is the trend that, if it didn't begin with the Manson family, certainly became established by the Manson family. This trend is to murder rather random, innocent people in large numbers that draw intense media coverage.

The Manson family, then the Jonestown massacre (which was, in some cases, mass suicide). Those were two astonishing crimes. Otherwise, when I was younger, the trend was to individual mentally deranged serial killers -- in and of themselves a terrible menace.

Since last summer we've had, now, three events in which unsuspecting people have been killed or injured with efficient weapons. A shooting in a Colorado movie theater, a shooting at an elementary school, and now a bomb at the Boston Marathon. In less than a year.

I can't account for this. Maybe the deranged killers are shifting from an individual serial model to a senseless mass model. I refuse to assign any sanity to the people doing this, just as Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer were dangerously insane.

What concerns me (and not for my own physical safety ... I live in New Jersey and drive the Turnpike, so I know where my dangers lie) is that these episodes are accelerating. They're happening more often. No sooner do we turn sorrowfully from one than another explodes. Literally.

So, what has changed since the 1960s? Well, I'll tell you. We now have cable television. We have nightly programs that are politically polarized and strident. We have 24-hour news cycles with networks vying for exclusive interviews and gruesome details. And now we have the Internet, where all the crazies can find the other crazies and learn how to make bombs to boot.

We're offering scant answers here at "The Gods Are Bored." But it just seems to me that the trend toward violence aimed at unsuspecting civilians is accelerating. God bless America.


Maebius said...

Sadly, I think you have a valid point there, in the MEdia-blitz being one effect of the issue.

Crime-rates (particularly violent crimes) overall are actually DOWN in this country, and just a quick peek at a wider-cast NewsNet will show you that foreign wars and international killings are at least running apace with historical trends.... but the difference is we know about them more, and in more detail, and faster.

I don't have the links to exact data, but you've probably heard those statistics about "somewhere in the world X-persons die every Y-minutes from Z-thing."

This should NOT be read to belittle the tragedy of each particular event, or the mass-events like you describe. but it should at least offer another perspective. Myself, as much as I hate to say it, I tend to avoid the over-saturation of the news on these events for that very reason.
Yes, it was sad, yes it sucked.
I had a friend standing some yards from the Boston blast who is thankfully OK, and it was horrible to happen. But people 24-hour coverage and media camped at hte doorsteps of the neighbor of the friend of the victim isn't helping. Where's the media in Somalia too?

My outlook on this is it only seems to escalate the violence in our minds because it's so saturating. As you hint at, the Jersey turnpike is dangerous too, yet we still drive it.
Life keeps going and I dislike the slant towards sensationalism of these events. I like the Fred Rogers quote going around much better.
Look to the Helpers. Look to the love that's sharing in the wake of these sort of events.
THAT is where the media should focus, after the initial details are reported and passed over.
So says the Nate. *stomp* :P

-Pam said...

I agree with what Maebius said. The more we know the worse we think it is.

Also I saw a flock of vultures suning themselves on the way into work this morning. Made me think of you. See you soon. MOUNTAIN TRIBE!!