Saturday, December 14, 2013

The usual post-massacre spin

I doubt that I'll say much about the shootings in Arapahoe High in Colorado. This story, though horrible, probably will not give rise to lingering mysteries. We should note, however, that the right-wing blogs have not hesitated to transform an act of madness into the stuff of politics. 

In case you came in late, here are the basic facts: Eighteen year-old high school student Karl Pierson, in an apparent attempt to take vengeance on the faculty member who had removed him from the debate team, shot two fellow students, then killed himself. His primary target escaped without injury.

Armchair detectives scouring the young man's internet trail soon discovered that, on Facebook, he described himself as a "Keynesian" and had expressed doubts about unregulated free enterprise. A fellow student went so far as to label Pierson a "socialist." Even though Pierson does not seem to have used that term to describe himself, reactionary bloggers have, predictably, seized upon that unnamed student's assessment.

Frankly, I doubt that kid's judgment. Libertarian propagandists have convinced many naive youngsters that a "socialist" is anyone not committed to the principles of Ayn Rand.

Here's an example of how this matter is playing out on the right:
If he described himself as “Keynesian,” could this mean that teenage terrorist Karl Pierson was a disciple of Paul Krugman?

Did this bloodthirsty adolescent fanatic watch MSNBC?
"Teenage terrorist"? Ridiculous. A vengeance killing is not terrorism. Murder for the sake of murder (Jack the Ripper, the Zodiac killer) is not terrorism. Even a psychopathic rampage (Virginia Tech, Newtown) is not terrorism. If our definition of "terrorism" becomes too elastic, the term loses all meaning.

Perhaps we should note that Pierson seems to have come from a religious family:
Even before authorities named the gunman, friends and neighbors were in shock as word spread that Pierson was a dedicated, bright student from a religious family that attends Bible study meetings.
Thus, instead of dragging Krugman into this, one might as easily argue that Pierson was a disciple of Jesus Christ. Does frequent Bible study lead to madness and violence? Before you answer, haul out your abacus, do some calculations, and tell me which is greater: The number of murders committed in the name of God, or the number of murders committed in the name of Keynes?  

Obviously, I'm being facetious. I would never seriously blame Pierson's act on his family's religious tradition.

My point is this: After a tragedy of this sort, many ideologically-motivated writers will study the assailant's online history for any nuggets of information which might be used to arouse the like-minded into rage-gasm. The people who play this game always disregard any data points which don't fit their preferred scripts.

(And then we have those sages and savants who grab hold of such stories and run with them to the land beyond Beyond...)
Comments:
as someone who occupies the other side of these events, what with my bitter gun clingin' ways, i find it interesting to see how this is being played out.

its usually the left spinning every little nugget of information into creating a fascist nutjob monster instead of the other way around.

i would love to know that an event when someone who's thoughts ran to the liberal side of things, and who espoused tough gun control but yet did the same thing as every other crazy did would cause a watershed where both sides would stop playing partisan politics and start addressing the real issues: mental health.

not gun control, not terrorism, but mental health and the sad state of our modern lifestyle in which we have to worry about this.

that's not left v right, nor should it be.

honestly, watching people freak out that someone was going to have a pro-gun rally on or about the newton anniversery, only to see mom's demand action (et al) do the exact same thing on the date blows me away.

we're all too wrapped up in our own little worlds to think about the dumb shit we're doing because we're always fucking justified.

anyways, i suspect we'll see a call for more laws to effect the law abiding which will only further entrench the gunners against anything.

its fucking stupid.
 
Well, he is male. We can all agree that is a key factor, despite the l
one woman the Boomtown Rats immortalized in " I don't like Mondays." Besides being male, unsurprisingly, the only other thing I'd like to know is if he was on psych meds as are nearly all the shooters. Religion is a key factor but that can go either way. The Columbine massacre occurred because the non religious perps felt excluded by the jesus freaks...back to the cpmmon factor. The pathetic "fragile" male ego.

 
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