Saturday, January 18, 2014

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation... - Henry David Thoreau

As the media coverage of the recent movie theater shooting continues, I can't help but reflect on the many issues that the event raises. On the surface, it appears to be a non-sensical and cold-blooded act of violence. The knee jerk reaction seems to be "That guy is crazy! What a psycho!" But as the story unfolds, it's clear to me that it's not that simple. The man who got shot was apparently not just quietly texting, but being combative. The shooter asked him to stop, but he didn't.

Of course, being rude, and even being physically aggressive, is no cause for being shot and killed. I am particularly struck, however, by the fact that the shooter actually left the theater and then returned to kill the offensive movie-goer. This removes the argument that this was a crime committed in the heat of the moment, and it's this piece of information that is the crux of my pondering.

The phrase on everyone's lips, it seems, is "gun control." Yes, gun control is a major issue with many different arguments, both logical and emotional, surrounding it. But I don't think this recent shooting is necessarily about gun violence, nor do I think it would have been prevented if guns were illegal.

It's not the actions of the shooter that lead me to wonder about human behavior or violence, it's the man who died. He didn't deserve to die, but he wasn't an innocent bystander. What is it about our society that makes people so obnoxious? Why do people need to be angry and combative? Why can't we all just be polite to each other?

There's something wrong with a society full of people who are unable to treat each other with common decency. Don't use your phone in a movie theater. Don't pick fights. Don't be rude. I picture the victim's life (accurate picture or not, I think it describes many people's): He's probably beat down and frustrated. Has a job that doesn't pay enough, and a boss who makes him feel small.  He comes home to a demanding toddler, a bundle of responsibilities he may not even have been ready to take on. His wife doesn't look at him the way she used to, they're both tired and frustrated all the time, they're rarely intimate anymore.

Of course people are all wound up and angry! What a tough world we live in!

The issue isn't gun control, it's quality of life improvement. We need to remember that we're all just striving for happiness. We're all lonely on some level, and all of us are seeking fulfillment in the best way we can.


Unknown said...

Whatever happened to being man enough to punch someone in the face? And I don't mean that to be funny at all. Someone is giving you a hard time you knock them in the mouth and go on with life. Not walk your sorry pathetic worthless pussy weak ass home and come back with a gun and kill someone. We are a nation of scared little girls and that's why there is so much gun violence. Outlawing guns or giving them to everyone will fix nothing. We need to teach kids how to fist fight and stop freaking out when they're young. Then we can build a nation of less weak minded and sensitive pussies who want to shoot everything that walks just because it didn't give them exactly the answer they wanted to hear. Ok I'm done. Nice post.

Adeline Jessica said...

Adam - interesting point. One of the first things I said when I heard about this was "why not just punch the guy" (though I really don't approve of fighting like that) - it would have been "justified" though, and would not have resulted in a death. What a strange incident!