Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
Following yet another public massacre, this one in a movie theater in Colorado, one newspaper printed a timeline graph showing the number of such incidents that have occurred since 1999. The events seem to have accelerated since 9/11, and it makes me wonder-
is the real danger to our country from the terrorists abroad? Or are we doing a pretty good job of terrorizing ourselves?
Living in a Fall Out Shelter
Dear Fall out,
The danger is from both… and none. There is a slim chance any one person in America will be victimized by terrorists either here or abroad. But given that, people do really bad things to other people EVERYWHERE! Man’s only natural predator, other than Mother Nature and mosquitoes, is other humans. We’re very good at it too. Thus, EVERYONE SHOULD BE TAKING KARATE.
By the way, a weird bit of synchronicity is that two days before this current shooting I happened to see the movie, We Need To Talk About Kevin. Against the backdrop of a mass murder, it showed that there are indeed people born to kill, manipulate, and dominate over other people. For these people it isn’t a matter of upbringing, or the TV, or the environment. It is just who they are. I have met a few. Evil people do exist. They are born to cause chaos and they will. Luckily, they are rare.
I don’t believe 9/11 directly has anything to do with the increase in mass murders. I remember a school shooting before as well. I do believe 9/11 is just one of the many stress factors that has been thrown at people. An increase in stress has also come from bad economy, climate change, drought, inflation, lack of jobs, poor mental health services, unaffordable health insurance, and crappy mass market food. All of this is contributing to increased violence in America; and on the internet, nuts can find camaraderie and encouragement along with the know how to do nutty things.
The real threat to life as we know it isn’t terrorism or nut cases. Our climate is changing. This is such a big issue people have stopped talking about it. Denial is what will kill us all, not a nut with a gun.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: while we wait for the climate and our fellow man to kill us, we also face annihilation from another source- disease and dementia. But all of this talk about the world and it’s many forms of evil and destruction brings to mind a simple philosophy that the aboriginal Inuit held to through their fiercely destructive climate and difficult lives- we keep things alive by saying their name, by speaking of them… by remembering them.
What is being kept alive in our media today is sensationalism and fear. I have no doubt whatsoever that the fact that such a wide media stage is readily available for any asshole who wants to become immortal by blowing large quantities of people away does not discourage those assholes in the slightest.
While Granny thinks that martial arts is a good thing for people to study if they want to protect themselves, she would like to point out that karate lessons (and btw- there are a LOT of martial arts forms out there besides karate) cannot protect anyone from automatic weapons , chemical warfare or heart failure. It is not a panacea for a deeply wounded world.
There are just SO many things to worry about that we can easily stress ourselves into the next century (should earth survive that long) if we let ourselves dwell. Granny suggests taking a page from Inuit philosophy- let’s keep the good stuff alive. A world filled with fear does not generate peace or prosperity. It pretty much just generates the destructive, sensational crap of which you speak.