I rarely write about serious stuff like mass murders here on this blog. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that I regard it as pompous and pretentious for me to pontificate on the bleedin’ obvious disasters that befall this world unless I’m somehow involved.
The Aurora cinema shooting is just another tragedy in America’s long and difficult relationship with firearms and the Second Amendment of the US Constitution (for those who don’t have a copy : “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.“) It’s a combination of multiple personal tragedies, cultural and governmental failures to legislate and one person’s evil or psychosis. I guess that we may get some idea of why this young man did what he did – whether it will make any sense is another matter.
I’ll come straight out – I love a lot of Americans. Their governments may make me weep on occasion, and they have some religious leaders that make we wonder whether we read the same Bible, and they also produce the Khardssians. But – on the whole, I like ’em. I like to think of myself as a left-wing libertarian in political terms, so I sometimes find myself dealing with a lot of people from the left who disagree with my views of the American people, and a lot of people from the US who think I’m a particularly weird type of Libertarian.
What I have found is that hatred of the US is one of the last remaining acceptable bigotries. So I wasn’t desperately surprised to see this little gem pop up in my Twitter stream – still not sure whether it’s serious or a ‘joke’:
“What American’s don’t understand is that they’re insane.”
Now….let’s pretend I tweeted…”What Greeks don’t understand is that they’re insane.” I wouldn’t do such a thing – they’re exhibiting some of the sanest behaviour in the world right now – but listen carefully….hear that low rumbling, that sound of wailing and gnashing of teeth, the sharpening of disembowelling cutlasses? Good. Because that’s the sound of ten thousand people who’d support that sentiment about the Americans on Twitter getting ready to turn around to me and yell ‘racist’.
I can’t see the difference in comments, but one would be acceptable to a lot of people who consider themselves to be liberal, free-thinking, non-bigoted progressives and one wouldn’t.
To my friends on the left – this isn’t the time for cheap political point scoring based on the actions of one lunatic, no matter how often this particularly American tragedy is played out. The shadow of the man with the gun is long in US culture – it will not easily go away and I’m sure that we’ll see this sort of thing happen again. But I’d like to think that we could all have the decency to get through these dark times without point scoring and cheap jokes.