Friday, August 20, 2021

Rage and Despair


Although the full picture has yet to emerge regarding yesterday's bomb threat, and while I don't know if the apparent detonator and other materials in Floyd Ray Roseberry's vehicle actually were rigged to do actual damage, what I'm seeing is a picture here of rage and despair

I know it sounds like an excuse to refer to Roseberry's medical and financial issues or his recent grief to explain what he'd done, especially when he broadcasted a political diatribe regarding the election lies of TrumpWorld and professed hatred for Democrats--especially when millions of people are going through difficult periods all the time and don't threaten to "revolution" and terror. It just that there's something really fucked up happened here that I keep seeing repeated--Andrew Joseph Stack, Anthony Quinn Warner, James Hodgkinson. Yeah, millions of people don't flame out with threats of violence--but then again not everyone seems to have left their brains soaking in kerosene waiting for a match. 

Rage, even profoundly misguided rage, is refuge from despair, even if it's no more healthy or effective. When people talk about "toxic masculinity", it's not about the men themselves being dangerous, but something about the way men are acculturated to make sense of things by finding rage easier to deal with than grief, finding and lashing out at targets more satisfying than even solving problems. 

Also, it seems to me that people use political views as a kind of escapism--they have their own issues, but focusing elsewhere makes the pain abstract, helps disassociate from it. This man didn't vote until Trump came along--a politician who encouraged rage, found targets to lash out at, encouraged grievance and conspiracy theories.

Of course, Trump isn't the only person doing that, let alone the first. The disturbing thing is that the dynamic has stopped being as fringe, has been mainstreamed. What Roseberry's Facebook commentary revealed was things you could hear not from folks who were sitting on an alleged truck bomb--but at CPAC. Or on cable news.  The rage and despair stem from real things, even though the stated stories are lies. But a lot of responsibility for channeling the rage this way is obviously at the feet of the liars--they provide accelerants to human timebombs. And are motivated by mere greed and attention-seeking, and a lack of any concern for the damage done.

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