So, with the Christchurch shooting, there are a few things that -will- get lost as people assume their positions and rant for the next few weeks about the same stuff that they did for the last American shooting, so let’s get that out of the way.
I’ve developed a checklist now instead of the shooting cycle because, as different as some people want to think these are, there are still patterns. The checklist looks like this
__ gun free zone
__ gun free city/state
__ minimal security
__ no security
__ population hub
__ hatred as motivator
__ politics as motivator.
You know what I just realized that checklist is missing? “Infamy as motivator”. The guy live-streamed It and, through that and his manifesto, intended to poison everything he touched from Candace Owens to Pewdepie to oddly, gun control. This is from his manifesto: “Won’t your attack result in calls for the removal of gun rights from Whites in the United states?—Yes, that is the plan all along, you said you would fight to protect your rights and the constitution, soon the time will come” (page 19, if you’re curious How he intended to spark a gun ban in America when he just killed upwards of 40 people in a country that “doesn’t have guns” is beyond me, but ok.
Anyway, I want to focus on the part of this that the live-streaming of this one, and the manifestos every killer now needs to apparently have in order to belong to that sick fraternity points to. A major motivator among mass shootings that goes ignored, largely because it can’t point to some amorphous “mental illness” we can mourn or some political ideology we can hope isn’t ours, is that the shooters themselves want to become infamous. There are several instances where the shooters have admitted that their motivation is to secure for themselves the fame that comes with being a mass murderer in a media-driven culture Another motivation that gets missed is a frankly nihilistic, hateful perspective that views life itself as something that needs to be extinguished. This dates back to at the very least the Columbine killers who wrote: “The human race isn’t worth fighting for, only worth killing….”I will kill who ever I deem unfit for anything, especially life.”
All this to say what I’ve said for years. Evil exists, and it is universal. The above two factors point to a sickness that this country is not remotely prepared to engage on a meaningful level. Instead, we retreat back to the usual “gun control and hate speech” points. The former of which can’t stand in the face of the point the checklist is making. The latter of which is a phrase that has been used as a political cudgel for the past several years and has come to mean “Differing opinions”. People are already suggesting that we should fight those protecting the shooter’s words under the guise of “hate speech”. However, we must also look at people who are wish to censor frank discussions on matters like fatherhood.
Ironically, those wanting to ban guns or restrict speech are in the simple, comfortable position. The platform of those who want to restrict hate speech never seem to fall under any obligation to define it (and are therefore inherently dangerous) and the people who want to ban guns are under no obligation to concern themselves with how they affect anyone who actually owns one and uses them safely or sells them lawfully. Further, they have never concerned themselves with gun use in defense of the innocent. Meanwhile, if you want to defend free speech absolutism, then you must accept, and be made to pay for ad absurdum, the expression of hatred and bigotry to the point where someone would say you support the right to say hateful things AND agree with the hateful things that were said. As Burke would say, those in favor of restricting speech or gun rights (or, I’d argue any other rights) “alters the substance of the objects themselves, and gets rid of all their essential good as well as of all the accidental evil annexed to them” and they do so from “we don’t want this to happen again”. Except, as the checklist demonstrates, even it the laws in place, they happen again and again.
What this attack dredges up in me is not hope for a reasoned discussion, but immense cynicism. Having followed these things for the last 12 years and seeing no change in the national discourse, nor in the general makeup of a shooting, the only thing becomes apparent that the shooters achieve almost all of their objectives. The Charleston shooter didn’t start a race war, the rogue LAPD cop didn’t revolutionize the police force, the Dallas shooter didn’t start an open season on cops, the New Zealand guy won’t start a war on white people, but they did divide people along theirlines be they racial, religious or political. More precisely, killing people and getting on camera was the entire objective of the Columbine, Virginia Tech, Parkland, Isla Vista and, arguably, Vegas shooters, and who would dare say they failed? I suppose the only question now that we don’t have an answer for is what shallow, vague, demonstrably untrue slogan will come up for this one, even though “This shouldn’t happen in the current year” because we are “better than this”. Together, after all, we are “Stronger Than Hate”?