Regular readers of this blog may recall an incident several months ago in which I joked about going on a killing spree, and was promptly brought to Columbia’s Mental Health Department for a psychiatric examination. I thought of this while reading about the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Real killers, you see, don’t generally broadcast their intentions in a public forum. Even if I had been planning some sort of mass murder, I doubt I would have said that I was going to “kill everyone”. What does that mean? Literally, everyone? How does one accomplish that–by shooting a missile into the center of the Earth and blowing up the whole planet? I realize that the header and my personal statement say I’m planning world domination, but if you honestly think that I am capable of that, you have a lot to learn. The point is that genuine mental illness and murderous rage are often harder to spot than that. Most serial killers (not the same as a mass murderer, but bear with me) are very good at blending in. Sometimes, you hear, “He was so quiet, and kept mostly to himself” but just as often you hear, “He was a nice guy! We went paintballing together!” (It’s usually a he, isn’t it? There should be more discussion about that.) The point is that the dude who sits in the corner and mutters to himself is rarely a physical threat. Psychos are good at blending in.
I expect to hear more talk about gun control in the ensuing weeks and months. I also expect to hear plenty of talk about mental illness, and what can be done to get treatment for people who might be planning to hurt themselves or others. Nothing can be accomplished if we shy away from a topic because it’s “too sensitive” or “Now is not the time to be having this discussion.” Fuck you. I’ll talk about what I want to talk about. The best way to show respect for the victims is to work to make sure that more schoolchildren don’t get shot up tomorrow, and with the spate of shootings in the last year alone, I wouldn’t bet against that, not even after all of the fucked up shit that we’ve dealt with already. Sometimes, God/the cold, indifferent universe/the Flying Spaghetti Monster just piles on the horseshit, and all we get to do is deal with it. The moment of silence is over. Let’s politicize the fuck out of this tragedy. It was political to begin with.
A couple years ago, I was having a very bad day. Such a bad day, in fact, that as I walked down the street, a cop car pulled over just so the officers could ask if I was alright. I was living in a suburb in California at the time, which is important, as I can’t imagine the NYPD doing that. One of them asked me point blank if I was thinking of doing something harmful. I stared at him and said, “No.” Why am I telling you this? Because I’m not a danger to anyone. I say fucked up shit, that’s all. I’ve never even held a gun, much less fired one. I’m so sick of hearing, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” as if guns aren’t designed with the express purpose of being killing machines. If more guns make everyone safer, why not just give every nation on Earth nuclear weapons. If we all have them, we’ll be too scared to use them, right? Mike Huckabee is a piece of shit.
This is going to sound off-topic, but last night, I caught up with my nerdy friends who saw it on opening night and took in a screening of The Hobbit at my local multiplex. It was okay–entertaining but clearly padded, generally well-acted, and a familiar return to the beloved ritual of seeing Middle Earth-related movies at Christmas even though it could have been two hours shorter–but what’s most important is that I saw it in 2D and at the standard rate of 24 frames per second (fps). For those who are not aware, Peter Jackson shot the film at 48 fps to make the image crisper and clearer (“like a window”, proselytizers claim). I don’t give a shit about that. I’m tired of these asinine technological innovations that purport to make film something greater than what it is intended to be. Your eyes blur images as they rush by you. So does 24 fps. That’s the way it should be. The brain can’t process more. The people who claim that this is the wave of the future and that naysayers like me (especially considering that I didn’t even bother to experience 48 fps before trashing it) are scared of progress should remember another old mantra: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
What does this have to do with gun violence? I guess what I’m trying to say is that our mental healthcare system and gun ownership laws are deeply broken, and in need of some serious fixing. The media is also partly to blame, but I could say that about every tragedy that has ever happened anywhere ever, so I’m not going to harp too hard on it this time. If you worry that we’re coming for your guns, rest assured that we very well might be, if your guns are in danger of being used for
the wrong their intended purpose. No, I’m not anti-Second Amendment, but it cracks me up (by which I mean “infuriates me”) that the Supreme Court is constantly hearing cases about the limitations on free speech yet has almost no time for the amendment about, you know, weaponry.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is that the only movie I ever enjoyed in 3D was Avatar, and that was basically a feature-length theme part ride. If that’s what floats your boat, go for it. But leave me out.