Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Note To All The Future Mass Killers

You're kind of blending in with each other.

It's a terrible statement about how screwed up our national culture is, of course. And it's a terrible statement about the lack of good gun control laws in our country. But it's also a statement about the nature of the fame you're going to achieve if you do this.

I can't really remember too many of the details about who you are. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.

I can call up the first and last names of the guys who perpetrated the Columbine massacre. I can call up the name of the person who killed the reporter and her cameraman - but that's because he's recent. I can picture the face of the guy who shot Gabby Giffords and also the face of the man who shot up that movie theater.

The others are a jumble of locations and trivia in my head. The shooter at Virginia Tech was obsessed with that movie. The kid who shot those sorority women made that pathetic video of himself. The guy who killed those children at the elementary school was mentally or emotionally impaired in some way. I don't remember exactly how - some people used the term "autism," but I don't think it was true.

I could look up all these people and all these facts, sure. But why? There are so many more of them coming. Too many more to count. You're going to be part of the great ugly blur. You'll be dead or locked away, and you won't be remembered. The TV people and the web people will put you through their little machine, turn the crank handle a few times, and then we're all going to move on to whatever stupid thing Congress is doing.

Killing people is wrong and killing people is mean and killing people is stupid. But killing people is also boring. We have an entire culture wrapped around the idea of ending the lives of others. It permeates our history, it's one of our largest industries, and it's in all the movies. You will be doing nothing noteworthy or original. You'll be a minor character in the latest season of a show that should have ended a long time ago. You'll be participating in the system you probably hate. It will be your way of giving up, and so you'll be forgotten.

Right now in America, acts of kindness and basic decency are the most radical things you could do. People who realize this are going to be remembered. Everyone else will get their spot on CNN and be gone by the end of the commercial break.


  1. I can remember the name and face of the guy who shot Gabby because I knew her. The last time I ran into her (about 2007), she laughed and said so I was the woman that our mutual friend Ted writes about. Ted had a huge crush on her and used to be really obvious about it on his blog. It was not a surprise because she was and is a wonderful person.

    But they all are wonderful people in their own way, these victims who get shot by someone for no reason or worse, because the shooter's sense of entitlement is greater then their understanding others have the right to live.

  2. I remember the Charleston shooter well, because that's my hometown and I went to school across the street from that church, and I think I knew the librarian who was shot. Other than that, though, they all blur together.


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