Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Friday, May 30, 2014

Missing So Many Signs

Reading more about the period leading up to USBC killer Elliot Rodger's murderous spree is profoundly saddening, because it just looks to me like there were so many missed signs, in part I think because a certain kind of violent strain in our discourse has become sort of expected. It really seems like this could have been avoided somehow.

But just as far as procedural matters go, it strikes me as inadequate that officers who performed a wellness check on Rodgers were aware of his videos, but didn't think to view them before seeing Rodgers himself. The videos are chilling in their hostility towards women (and pretty much anyone who gets on with them...) and pretty explicit as to his eventual criminal intent--because he made those videos feeling at liberty to say what was on his mind. In the presence of authority, is it really to be expected that he'd behave in a genuine fashion--as in, tipping off that he's very much thinking of being a danger to himself and others? Also, in a slight rebuke to those who think being on a list means gungrabbers will be out to get you--the fact that California has a database of gun purchasers apparently isn't useful for sorting out who might be a danger in using them, if such a list is not checked at all. 

This sort of thing bothers me. I think rationally, whenever anything particularly horrible happens, we want to try and see how it can be prevented from happening again. When I read something in the aftermath of these murders, like this distinctly sickening account of what sorts of things are openly contemplated at one of the little digital Boys' Only clubhouses, I can definitely see where there is a real problem in trying to separate the mere fantasists, from the thoroughgoing fanatics.

I think it also bears saying that Rodgers' own accounting of himself and the comments of others who knew him point to episodes of rage that were dramatically and inappropriately acted upon. It really seems like this human timebomb had been ticking for awhile, and people were in a way, trying not to hear.


Anonymous said...

Hi Vixen,
I agree with you that signs were ignored or overlooked or treated indifferently by the bureaucracies set up for oversight. Regrettably, we are learning that neglect is a hallmark of bureaucracies. It might be noted that the NRA has called for more stringent oversight of gun ownership in the cases of diagnosed mental illness. It just makes common sense.

When this happened, immediately all the old bromides were injected into the narrative. For the anti-gun people, it was about guns (irrespective of the fact that it was also about knives and cars). Feminists were quick to note the anti-female rants (you had one of the better considerations of that point), despite the fact that he knocked off men.

And ultimately people were slow to factor in that he was an absolute, total, clinically diagnosed, up-to-the-max-Rx, genuine, certifiable nut.

Meaningless philosophical observation: Vixen, when your dad and I were kids, it would not have been possible for this nut to have come up with this pretext.

Philly might have been a racier place, but nobody had great expectations of getting laid. Girls were most often virgins when they graduated from high school. The sex drive frequently caused people to get married early, which did product some unsuitable marriages.

But the point is that modern civilization in the process of changing to our new sensibility also discarded a lot of the old psychological and sociological protections. Once you let the toothpaste out of the tube, it might be good, but all the bad stuff comes out with the rest of the toothpaste.

The pill liberated women sexually. The sexual revolution was the precursor to the hookup culture. And now every kind of sexual possibility is regarded as reasonable.

This may not all be bad, but one does necessarily realize that along with it come all of the chaotic and dangerous little factors that had been kept in the closet in the more repressive culture.

In the Qaballah, unbalanced force is the definition of evil (the kings of Edom who ruled before there was a king in Jerusalem). In other words, the coal in the fireplace is virtuous. But the coal spilled onto the rug is evil.

Today we have a culture in which coals are in the fireplace, but have also been spilled liberally all over the house. And we are having to contend with the fallout from this "progress."

--Formerly Amherst

Vixen Strangely said...

I think carrying out what he did is certainly abnormal, but that some of things he was saying were very similar to what other people on MRA/PUA sites say is disturbing to me becaus it just means the discourse is lowered to where "crazy" looks like "the new normal". His insanity is relative to the culture he found himself in--in some settings, he looked just about normal enough. (Reminds me of one of my favorite Robert Anton WIlson titles "Reality is What You Can Get Away With.")

My generation is different--my parents knew each other from the neighborhood since they were kids, married at 23 (because my dad spent a couple years in Okinawa or maybe it would have been sooner) and pretty much right away had me. They are still together 40-something years of marriage later because the art of being together was a life lesson they expected. Me, I married young too--but it was what we call "starter marriage". I had to get older and smarter to figure out how to settle down, compromise, listen, talk things out--and all the sex stuff aside that kids place a value on, that thing, where you commit to someone and learn how to just be together even when things suck is a skill, and a good one to know. You know your spouse has faults--you know you have faults--and together you just figure out how to make the whole thing work anyway.

The idea that there is immediate gratification and that people can just hook up and that's it misses a lot of the value there is in knowing another person and really seeing them. I don't think the younger generation has lost the idea forever, but seeing sex as an object or goal stands in the way, I think. I've come to think of sex as just one of many means to the end of knowing someone, and actually knowing someone as being the neat thing about having a relationship.

I don't know if the "sexual revolution" is to blame as such, or if popular culture pushed sexuality as a new "coming of age" thing where a certain value came with having reached one's benchmark of sexual "minimum requirement fulfillment" of getting laid at an early eough age to not feel weird about it was the new proof of manhood. You know, where earlier people might have encouraged a show of literacy, a successful hunt, or a vision quest, or some other sign of adulthood, somehow sexuality became it.