The response to the Tibbets case is another fascinating example of how a country can have tens of thousands of discussions on an issue and still not have a single original thought.
First, on the Right. “Not all immigrants are like this, but” if we had better immigration policy, Tibbets would still be alive.
Tactically, this is true. And yet, we find ourselves with the usual “not all (insert group here)” argument and what I am forced to call the “but” argument. 1st and 2nd amendment supporters will know this by the phrases “I support free speech, but” as a lead-in to promoting censorship and “I support the 2nd Amendment, but” as a lead in to a gun ban.
That said…and I don’t mean to put the illegality aside, we have to realize that this is the exact same argument the Left uses after a mass shooter. “Not all gun owners are killers, BUT” we need to “keep guns out of the wrong hands”.
I’d like to caution the Right not to fall into the usual rhetoric that comes out of pushing gun control as a way for them to push immigration. “If it saves one life….one death is too many” high-flying, idealistic garbage like that. Think one level deeper on that (i.e. self-defense, or the decent illegal immigrant) and the argument collapses.
On the Left, apparently, it’s another story about a man not taking no for an answer. Granted, I get that point, especially younger men seem to find “no”, as Jordan Peterson would say, “chaotic”, and I have seen several cases of abuse in my short time (I am old enough to say that, shoot me later).
All this does, between the immigrant, the mass shooter and the “it’s men” argument, is tell me that…as if I needed to be told…evil is universal.
We can talk about illegal immigration all day, separate from the Tibbets case. I don’t really care that it was an illegal that killed her. The suspect’s illegality is not the point, and I’m sick of one case being made into the sole argument people seem to have.
Let me put it to you this way. If people are going to delve into this young woman’s life and specifically her final moments, does such an intrusion not at least deserve the respect of being examined from a nuanced perspective, acknowledging the death of a 20-year-old girl as something more than a point for or against “our side”? Every issue calls for deeper analysis. Immigration, mass shootings, the subject of the evil in our world in every form, call for nuance. What good is it to begin and end with “Teh illegahl imagrant” or “Evul whyte mahn”?
Think about this, typically, mass shootings are largely perpetrated by white people, gang shootings by black and Hispanic people, and terror attacks are committed by Islamic extremists.
What can you get from that this useful and inoffensive? Nothing. At all. The best you have is that, while indoors, white people are better shots, black people and Latinos are better shots outdoors, and Islamic extremists use bombs and vehicles, so accuracy isn’t on the agenda. (That doesn’t sound offensive at all, does it)
So what? Where do you go from that? You come to the conclusion that the problem of evil transcends all racial and religions lines. This is believed to be true by most everyone, Mencken, Solzhenitsyn, Dostoevsky, Peterson, N.T. Wright, C.S. Lewis, God Himself, there is not a thinker or philosopher or higher power that created mankind that believes that evil (or “the real evil” as it were) is in one specific race or religion. The capacity for evil, which is all that matters, is in all of us. The conversations that have become central regarding the immutable aspects of the suspect are pointless and repetitive and they are the wrong conversation to be having on the issue anyway.
Once you have gotten past fixating on a suspect’s race or gender or religion, you are then able to break a situation down into its component parts, and I don’t mean self-promoting hypotheticals like “would Tibbets have been better with a gun.” I mean…no. Not really. The presence of a gun serves no purpose. Secondly, she is described as very much a lover and not a fighter. Nothing wrong with that, those are just the facts of the case. She probably wouldn’t know to use the gun we magically put into her hand. At this point, I think I need to stress that I am not blaming her for being in the position she was in. That is ridiculous. She did not ask for the guy to come up to her and badger her.
By “component parts”, I mean you need to ask deeper questions. What makes the school vulnerable, why are white people the majority of mass shooters? why are black and Hispanic people more likely to be in a gang? And so forth.
The issue with the conversations taking place now is that race and gender have become everything in any given debate. Mass shooting discussions rarely, if ever, get past the fact that mass shooters are men, white, or some intrepid “journalist” at Vox or the Root will focus on “white” AND “men”. As we’ve established, you can’t get anything useful from that when you look at those facts, or the picture of violence across the country. And yet, you know the people yelling “white man” on this one take on a very different, softer tone, when it’s a different race or it’s Islamic. So what good is the pretense that they are really concerned about the race or gender or religion of a suspect. They’re not, at least not consistently. Depending on the situation, one group will adopt the “not all (insert group)” argument and we’re right back at square one.
If we continue to compartmentalize evil, we shall continue to have many fruitless, emotional discussions blaming an entire race or religion for the actions of one man. If we admit that evil transcends these lines, the discussions can begin on how to mitigate the existence of the eternal problem of human evil