The world awoke yesterday to the shocking news that a random gunman took out his angst on a crowd of movie-goers. My godmother lives in that town. (I assume she's not the kind to go to a midnight release of ANY movie, Batman least of all.) Sadly, my deep, dark, know-it-all cynic wasn't shocked.
Hm...okay, yeah, the thought that it happened? That gave me a "who DOES that?" eyebrow-raise. But when the girl they interviewed said, "He was wearing a gas-mask. He was totally covered up, so you couldn't tell his race or anything," I said, "White, nerd-boy." Sure enough, when the picture and description came on, I had him pegged.
Kept to himself. Check.
Hardly seen in his own neighborhood. Sould like someone who spends too much time online or gaming? Check.
...I am a nerd. I recognize the type. Who else would target Batman, of all things?Am I disturbed? Yes. In the way that I have an icky taste in my mouth for the direction society is going. And it's no better anywhere else.
Central America: Drug cartel violence.
Middle East: Religious persecution and radical violence.
China (and other East Asian countries): Repression of all sorts.
Africa: Guerrila warfare.
Everywhere: Import/export of sex slaves.
Broad generalizations? Sure. But I mean it. As soon as I thought "I'm ready to get out of this uber-violent, screwed-up-in-so-many-ways country," I realized the lack of alternatives. There's trouble everywhere, and it's been that way for a long time.
Decades ago, when our family was returning to the States from Sri Lanka on furlough, all my friends from school were so worried about me coming to the violence of Chicago. And yet, for the 4 previous years, we received endless letters from Stateside friends and family expressing their concern for our well-being in the violent political upheaval of Sri Lanka! There is violence everywhere. No society is better at eradicating it, no religion is better at preaching peace (believe me, they all preach it, but the extremists of any religion breach it).
I guess this kind of thing has the deep shock value of being apparently totally random (or totally personal, if they find that like the Columbine kids this guy was just mad that he had no friends).
Religious attacks are their own kind of stupid, but there is a - MISGUIDED - ideology behind it. Identifying that seems to unify both the attacker and the attacked. But this one guy, James Holmes? ...the heck?
On September 11, 2001.
Was I shocked? Yes.
Did I cry? Yes.
And then some idiot came on TV and asked how it could happen... "How did they get through our security?" and I laughed a bitter, know-it-all laugh. Security? In the States? Hah!
Understand, by 2001 I had traveled around the world multiple times and gone through airport customs routines in all kinds of places, from small airports in India to major international hubs across Asia and Europe, and including the gamut of U.S. airports. Trust me. Before that sunny fall day in 2001, U.S. airport security was...negligible.
That's just to say, I guess I'm a bit jaded. I don't understand what makes an individual do something like that, but it no longer shocks me. It's just news. Even though I have a connection to the town in the form of family.
It's just. News.
Just random people I will never meet, in a community I haven't seen since I was a kid.
Just another random act of incomprehensible violence. Ho-hum.
My routine won't change. The Movie Whore in me won't second-guess going to the movies because of this. ...I'll probably wait for the DVD of this one, but that's just because I don't like the direction Christopher Nolan is taking my favorite superhero, not because there are crazy people on the loose.
What about you? Were you actually surprised? Am I alone here in just sitting and shaking my head in bewilderment about the stupidity of this, but not weeping over the loss of life? Not being surprised it could happen?
I tell you what will not surprise me. What will not surprise me is when we find out that James Holmes, in fact, spent more time online than in real life. That he had more "facebook friends" than real life friends. That his life revolved around himself. We already know he was not a visible presence in his community, so I won't be surprised to find he was not involved in any community organizations.
We need to connect. I love my blog, but have never used it as a substitute for interpersonal interaction. I enjoy facebook, but only as a way to keep up with actual people who I actually know. Get out there, people! Close facebook for a day or two and interact. Walk through your town and actually greet people with a smile. Make someone's day.
Let's show the world that the James Holmes' of this world can't bring us down.