Thursday, February 21, 2013
punch kick slice maim destroy
Personally, I have no interest in new laws, or defining mental illness, or convincing other people to change their behavior or attitudes. And I don't need a definition of insanity from an academic or clinical psychiatrist to know that the old lady who lives above the barber shop is nucking futz, because she talks to bushes.
Because I can see now how this is going to play out. Starting with the watershed event of Newtown, public attitudes and behaviors have already started changing. This is how we finally came to terms with racism, sexism, and anti-gay bigotry in the US -- there were new laws added to the books in each instance, but these turned out not to be so important as the evolution of people's attitudes.
I spent quite a bit of time yesterday examining my own mind, and the gravitational pull of violence within it. I looked back into my childhood, at the childish games we used to play where we were cowboys with guns, miming killing and death, and wondered if this is normal. Puppies and kittens play at fighting, so why shouldn't human puppies do the same? I came to the conclusion that my mind habitually perceived violence as way of solving problems "with finality," that this was neither normal nor healthy, and that it had been culturally imposed, by the American war-and-cowboy culture which "shoots first and asks questions later." I also thought quite a bit about the historical specifics of who the cowboys were and where they came from, rather than just thinking of them as a bunch of average guys who went west and happened to blow each other full of holes.
Because if you think American society doesn't have a "violence problem," if you think the number of gun deaths we experience each year in this country is normal, if you're able to look at this galloping pathology and see nothing amiss, I have nothing more to say to you except "Enjoy your lunch." You know, there was a time in this country when slave-owners thought of themseles as normal people, and a slave-owning society as perfectly acceptable, and what monsters of iniquty they were. Not just gun violence, but violence as a state of mind, option, or solution to anything is on the outs. Attitudes are already changing, plus a little introspection doesn't hurt a thing, and it's about time we all had some, on this topic anyway.