Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Level of Outrage at a Mass Killer is Proportional to the God He Prays to

I recently learned how to track my page views and saw that this old post on gun violence is one of the favorites. I reread that post and it got me thinking. These last two years have shown that nothing will stop the regular gun violence in America. But what if we had a mass shooting with a terrorist connection? What would happen then? I don't know how many times I've heard people discuss the possibility of terrorists detonating a suicide bomb in a mall in small town America. But it would be much easier for them to just shoot it up with how easy it is to purchase weapons here. Most people know the random American town attack would scare the crap out of us, and it seems relatively easy to accomplish. If the terrorists ever were to do this, there'd be a shitstorm in terms of figuring out what we could've done differently, how it happened, and maybe they'd even trick us again to invade another middle eastern country that had nothing to do with the attack. But it really doesn't even take much of a thought experiment to speculate on the different reactions to national tragedy depending on the motives of the shooter. We already had one gun tragedy with a possible terrorist connection, and the dominant discourse was clearly much different than it is for your run-of-the-mill-this-is-just-what-happens-in-America mass shooting. (Funny how scared we are that a terrorist will do something that we already do to each other on a regular basis, randomly kill each other in public places.) MAJ Hasan's attack on Ft. Hood was not predominantly a discussion of where he got the weapon and the type of weapon it was. Those discussions were ancillary to the dominant political discourse over who missed the signs and whose fault this was. We'll have congressional reports after attacks like MAJ Hasan's, but I couldn't find any examples of recent investigations into the mass shootings in America (Google failed me in my 5 minutes of research. Funding for the Pearsandwich intern fell through, so I can't be more certain of this claim). At the very least, we don't allow federal money to fund studies of the issue, yet investigations into what the Justice Department knew about ass-backward gun walking investigations where federal agents tragically were killed is given all of the congressional oversight in the world. So anyways, in this thought experiment I say that if this tragic event occurs, the intent of the shooter will show how we finally react differently as a nation. If he's doing it because he hates America and believes it's his path to heaven, America will probably never be the same. We'll lose our innocence one more time and we'll have politicians/pundits/people pointing fingers, we'll get some more laws and maybe even some miltary action. If the shooter is just a crazy person who doesn't believe in Allah, we'll have the couple of days of discussion and finger pointing before just shrugging our shoulders and getting on with our lives. I mean, you don't get over 30,000 shooting deaths a year without growing accustomed to it and just accepting that you're the greatest country on Earth that doesn't need to do anything to change.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

You Can Only Beat Human Beings that You Own

A few months ago we had a court-martial that looked like a clear case of child abuse, yet the panel said the Soldier was not guitly. The defense relied on the parental discipline defense. The 12 year-old child was home alone. He let his older sister's friend into the house so he could use the phone. And that friend proceeded to steal a laptop. When Dad found out, he blamed his son and used the rubber scrap pictured below to hit the kid. The entire case came down to whether this amount of force was a reasonable way to discipline a child for letting someone in the house when Dad wasn't home. The lawyers in our office all thought the pictures spoke for themselves, and there's nothing the child could have done to deserve this. I didn't realize we were in trouble until we picked the panel members. Most of them said they were hit when they were kids and it made them better people. They said their parents used wooden spoons, belts, hangers, and one even said a bed rail. After all the evidence was presented, it took them 40 minutes to acquit.
Anyways, this was and is upsetting. How is it that an adult can bruise a child like this and it's ok? In any dispute in a civilized society, you're not allowed to make your point with violence. And yet with children, the smallest and most vulnerable human beings, it's socially acceptable to use weapons and bruise them when you're teaching them a lesson. But you can't do this to other people's children of course, since hitting someone else's child is clearly a heinous crime. Before you can lawfully hit a child you have to show that you own it. Once ownership is established, then you can use a rubber scrap cut from an old tire and swing away, leaving bruises that last for 3 days. Unsurprisingly, this child is also violent. He was suspended from school multiple times for fights with other students. So it's nice to see that Dad is paying this forward. I'm not sure what I'm hoping to accomplish from writing about this. I guess just hoping to get this off my chest and hoping some like-minded people agree. Anyways, this is some messed-up stuff. What a world.