15 February 2018

The St. Valentine's Day Amoklauf

The youth arrested yesterday in Florida is accused of killing more than twice as many people as Al Capone's henchmen mowed down 89 years ago, but yesterday's crime will most likely go down as just another school shooting. The suspect had been expelled after threatening violence but apparently pulled a fire alarm to bring people into his line of fire. Because of his background, the political discussion afterward will most likely focus on screening dangerous individuals rather than on gun control, though all the old arguments remain valid. But while they do remain valid, it becomes increasingly clear that something is wrong with our culture -- something that goes deeper than superficial complaints against violent entertainment will reach. Censoring movies or video games won't get to the problem; the same games are played and the same films screened around the world, after all, without the consequences seen here. It's more likely that mass shootings are as much a symptom of American cultural decadence -- something religion won't cure -- as our increasingly anomic politics and our antisocial media. I don't have time to speculate more expensively on what the problem is, but whatever it is, that, more than any special regard for freedom of conscience, is at the heart of American exceptionalism in its darkest form. 

1 comment:

hobbyfan said...

Just another kid with anger management issues. As you note, Sam, he was expelled from school some time earlier, and this is how he decides to avenge himself?

What they need to do is talk to his parents, among other things. He may have lifted that gun from his pop's personal arsenal, for all we know. If there's psych issues, therapy would be one answer.