Friday, June 17, 2016

And it's not even summer yet...

In which we try to quote the Bard without looking despite having his entire works about twenty feet away. Because there is rarely a thing that happens that son of a gun didn't think of. And because we're trying really hard to think about lofty things after a week where madness was in overdrive.

"For whether tis nobler in the minds of man to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them."

(Dang, that boy writes purty, don't he?)

And then this - a few random, entirely subjective thoughts on the tragic death of Jo Cox after the Orlando massacre, in which we pay attention to common elements, knowing damn well it's more complicated but, hey, we've gotta start somewhere.

(We may need to shorten that post title.)

Please know this: This isn't a casual comparison of dreadful crimes.

The events are very different - Orlando and yesterday's killing of Jo Cox.

But in the way of murders, they are much the same. Both violent acts are examples of flat-out crazy wearing the tuxedo of terrorism. All dressed up and everywhere to go.

Maybe crazy with a cause must be easier to bear: the annihilating compression of self hatred turned outward in a perfect checkmate or at least relief. Fooling a few of the people for all time. Going out with a bang of denial.

But Jo Cox's death? Different, yet the same because she was cut down with a political cry, one with deliberate affixed with political significance, as if some bullshit words stretched across a violent act somehow ennobled it. And, like putting a cotton ball on a slashed femoral artery: it was too little, too late, seen for the pathetic ruse it was.

Yet in Great Britain, they aren't pushing back and forth about viper nests harboring terrorists, etc. Here's why and it's also the chief ingredient missing here, which is the utter lack of an Arabic presence in the death of Ms. Cox. We know. It's just that the similarities of the crime are arresting. And not to notice them at all, a tiny bit of folly.

The death of Jo Cox also differs in that her killer lived - even past his arrest. (The quiet two minute video of the British police taking him into custody contrasts wildly to videos of many Americans getting even a simple parking ticket. We're talking behavior of both suspect and law enforcement, btw. To not espy the generally higher level of civility in the UK is to not pay attention.)

But there is another difference that's, well, very different. In the UK, they realized,immediately, that no matter what this killer, Tommy Mair, screamed out during his crime that he's been mentally ill for some time - and they are are calling it that. Right away. In America, there is the implication that bringing 'insanity' into the picture somehow diminishes the horror of the act. It's more than semantics.

In the UK, unlike the US, they no longer have capital punishment. There's no hook letting off to happen, no taking something off the table. Here, to be adjudged crazy is to escape justice.

Yes, the Orlando massacre was and is unequivocally about terror in its most egregious, stark state.

But the act was far less political than they're making it. The politics of Orlando happened afterwards and will continue, because we are good at it, for some time.

The catastrophic failure of one life gone murderously awry is much harder to sink our collective teeth in than the fluid epidemic of international terrorism, that many headed beast who hates our God, our goodness, our baseball and apple pie.

Plain old hate caused both men to bubble over, yet in both of them, every single clue, sign and oops the boy ain't right signal was there and they were ignored over and over again.

It's chicken and egg time again: What came first, the hate or the madness? In each case, it was the madness itself that lay disguised, hidden well enough that it was all but invisible - except from an occasionally beaten wife or fretful parents, until it exploded across the world.

These are times when nearly any private outrage needn't look far to be legitimized. Miserable, rage-filled and alone? By shifting focus to those larger crimes of inequity, godlessness or even European Union, instead of being the lunatic down the street, you can be poster boy to a terror cell in a place you've never been. They might as well make up brochures.

The Orlando annihilator took selfies that tell a lot, but only in perfect hindsight. Would that evil wore a T-shirt. Instead, we look at his pictures over and over looking for a sign, any sign. It's more chilling that none are there. All we see is a collegiately handsome lad looking back at us, almost bashful in his desire to be seen, liked. But when we see his middle easternness - aha. That pins the tail on the donkey.

How did we miss it? That what he really wanted was so forbidden, that his self-loathing, rooted in tormented sexuality, would jump ditches like a stray fire, joining up with the huge inferno of world terrorism. Tinder, indeed.

Did he see a heaven of virgins like the other suicide guys? How ironic.

Maybe, just maybe... when he arrived, there were indeed the many virgins as promised. And like a Twilight Zone even Rod Serling missed, that, ladies and gentlemen, is his hell.

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