I've certainly seen several commentators openly wonder why it is that The Hive Mind has such an interest in this Isla Vista incident, and I don't have an answer for that, other than my nearly standard wonder at how the machine seems to grind into action almost before the incident is concluded. But it seems clear that the hive does have a fair fixation, despite the inconvenient details of both the action and its perpetrator.
No matter. These are crusaders, here.
This is how I was informed of the piety of Mr. Martinez, via my Facebook feed:
This author is learning from his daughter. May others join him.
"This author" is the Salon writer who fawns over the "hero" Martinez, who "turn[ed] his despair into advocacy", therein showing Us The Unwashed the path to our salvation. (Canna gitta ayy-men?)
I gagged, and restrained myself to the following, which seemed worth documenting here.
Ah yes, the unassailable moral authority of using one's personal tragedy to stump for the "legal" prior-restraint violation of everyone who didn't do it. Classy.
(Grieving is one thing--an entirely human need. But using the political system as a weapon against people who have harmed and will harm no one, is as pure an act of aggression as there can be. You celebrate this?)
By all means, ignore the continued failure of law to protect the innocent. The only "acceptable" answer is to crusade for more law. (Hey, man, politicians say so! This time for sure!)
And above all, continue to insist on disarming the victims. After all, my goodness, someone might get hurt! And we all know that plebes are too effin' stupid to be trusted to take care of themselves anyway. (Empowerment is fine and good for trivial things, peasant, but the actual disposition of your life is far too...uh...important, to be left simply to your own unwashed judgment.)
The most frustrating part of all this is not that I might simply observe a different reality than others. Hell, that seems healthy to me. What's irreconcilable is that the one, the only thing I require--to be left in peace unless and until I aggress against someone else--is the one thing that the modern political crusader absolutely, positively refuses to do.
There is another irony here, as well. The disarmament crusaders are notoriously uninterested in understanding those they seek to dominate by politics. Their general ignorance of the objects of their hatred is legendary and breathtaking enough, but their relentless dehumanization of the people who own and identify with those objects may exceed even that. "Gee, why won't you cousin-humping rednecks ever vote for us?" (The subsequent bewailing of the lack of a "conversation" could serve as a dictionary definition of chutzpah.)
See what's going on here? Personify the object and objectify the person, both in service of the same goal of not having to actually deal with either...
It's the same story as it is everywhere else, where what is missing is empathy and what's present is politics. There is no interest at all in respecting "the other" as (s)he is--only an insistence on domination, using the political system as the "legitimate" weapon.
Maybe tomorrow I'll be smart enough just not to look at my Facebook feed at all.
UPDATE: Not smart enough, apparently. I got the following playbook responses:
Kevin, I'm not sure you read the article. It's largely about misogyny and the fear all women live with and the harassment/danger we are taught to expect and accept.
Regarding your comment, Kevin, you mention the "continued failure of the law to protect the innocent" and scoff at the desire for more law. I'm confused by the idea that because existing law doesn't accomplish something, then new laws won't either. With that logic, we might have said 'speed limits on highways fail to protect the innocent from drunk drivers,' so why bother instituting DUO laws?
Current laws can't protect the innocent from first-time shooters, as most of these young mass-murderers are. This guy bought multiple assault weapons legally! What do you think is the way to prevent this (and Sandy Hook, and Columbine, etc etc)? Do you really want everybody to walk around armed and ready to 'take down' an attacker? I teach college, and I have thought about what would happen if there were a shooter in my classroom. I can say that one nightmare scenario is multiple other students leaping up to shoot back. Chaos!
Also, I had a (un-named) family member with a clinically paranoid and irrational husband who kept several guns around the house despite small kids. He wouldn't keep them locked because 'there wouldn't be time to get them when the bad guys came.' When my relative divorced him, she was petrified of him 'snapping' and shooting her or the kids. She hid his guns off site for a while, but was scared he'd discover that and be so mad that he would go buy another one and come after her. Of course, this was perfectly legal as he had no criminal record. In fact, he was another 'ultimate gentleman.' He even worked for Corrections and had security clearances.
And have you heard about the retired police officer who shot his own grown son at the back door? The guy had stepped outside and the dad, with early dementia, thought he was an intruder. Family had wondered about his mental state, but nobody could hurt his dignity by taking away the guns from this old police officer. How could that have been prevented?
Finally, you suggest that liberals think the public can be trusted to take care of themselves in the small things but don't trust the people to defend their own lives. Well, right! I think people should have freedom in many things, but not things that endanger other peoples' lives. Again, should we not have speed limits or DUI laws? Do you want every single college (and HS?) student and teacher to walk around armed? You say we 'insist on disarming the victims.' But those those sorority girls and Sandy Hook kids were never armed and their guns weren't taken away by Big Government. Should I be forced to carry a weapon in the classroom and on campus? When I go to the movies or the corner store? And what about all the kids who accidentally shoot their friends and siblings when they find daddy's gun in the house? Should those victims in diapers be armed?
Who are you so scared of that you need guns? I live in a pretty dicey neighborhood and hear gunshots several times a week, sometimes close enough that I hit the floor. But does that make me want a gun? No. It makes me wish we 'd get all the guns off the street so my teenage neighbors might get to grow up without becoming either victims or murderers. Because before the first time, they were innocent. Nobody's born a bad guy. How can you tell who is a bad guy? If my relative had been shot by her husband, people would have said, 'he seemed like such a nice guy.' Yeah. Should that potential victim carry a gun with her around the house to guard the 'disposition of her own life'? Or might we look to gun restrictions to not be swimming in a sea of deadly weapons?
Once again, I attempted restraint. Given the amount of PSH crammed into the above, this was by no means easy, but I think the following is restrained. (Which, of course, may be much of my problem.)
Colors, as above, added for simple readability.
[Y]ou may have perhaps noticed that I said nothing about the horrors of misogyny. Yes, I noticed that the article discusses that. But this "conclusion" is pretty damn clear:
“Organizing for tougher gun control laws is really the only option,” I responded.
I chose to respond to that.
Personally, I cannot imagine--cannot imagine--a greater misogyny than the demand that millions of regular, everyday women, who have harmed no one, must beg and quibble over their own empowerment. I can't decide whether this is a greater insult coming from men or women, but limiting or removing a woman's choice to arrange for her own security seems morally indefensible to anyone who actually values the concept of empowerment.
As to a few of the other things:
"...I'm confused by the idea that because existing law doesn't accomplish something, then new laws won't either."
Yes, it seems that you are. And I cannot help you with that. You appear unwilling or unable to recognize that no new law is in any meaningful way different than the hundreds or thousands that have come before it. Their mechanisms are the same, their enforcers are the same, and their effect is the same. As commentator Tamara Keel just recently put it, "people get shanked in prisons all the time".
Do you really believe that any new law will somehow perform as the politicians selling it to you advertise? Really?
"...What do you think is the way to prevent this (and Sandy Hook, and Columbine, etc etc)? Do you really want everybody to walk around armed and ready to 'take down' an attacker?"
No, not "everybody". Just those willing to take on the responsibility and accountability for their potential actions. (Many are not, and in the absence of agitating to force others to do the same, that is a peaceable choice that should be respected.)
The initiation of these sorts of incidents cannot be prevented. Everyone seems to agree on this. It is also unambiguous how these sorts of incidents conclude.
"...I teach college, and I have thought about what would happen if there were a shooter in my classroom. I can say that one nightmare scenario is multiple other students leaping up to shoot back. Chaos!"
In carefully crafting your "nightmare scenario" for its maximum effect upon yourself and others, do you completely fail to recognize that the same risk attends outside the classroom, as well? (I taught college too, for a time. The classroom does not have magic properties.) Notwithstanding the specific appeal of a "gun-free zone" to an attacker not interested in resistance, which does rather distinguish the classroom from the street, the risk of disaster is present everywhere, all the time. (I don't know about you, but if I could make an appointment with my emergency, I'd just put a seat belt on right before I knew I was going to crash.)
Yes, "chaos". The singular organizing principle of the entire natural world. If that is a personal bogeyman that must be avoided at all costs, you are in for a very anxious, fearful life.
"... a clinically paranoid and irrational husband ... even worked for Corrections and had security clearances ... the retired police officer who shot his own grown son at the back door ..."
Um, the examples you use here are enforcement class--agents of the state--not regular people. And this is very much the norm. There is a critical difference between the enforcement class and the plebes: accountability. Regular people are held accountable for every round they fire, from when it starts until it comes to rest. Enforcers are almost invariably cleared of any wrongdoing no matter how awful their actions may be.
And this difference shows itself on the street. Mundanes protecting themselves hold their fire more, fire fewer rounds, hit more accurately, and stop shooting sooner than enforcers do. They also mis-identify their targets far less. This isn't news, it's been that way for generations now. And it's unsurprising: when actions have consequences, most people will not act unless they must. By contrast, officialdom is so regularly excused for anything that they do, that there is no incentive for them to restrain themselves.
Do not make the mistake of projecting the behaviors of police and military upon regular people. The peasantry is demonstrably better than that.
"...Well, right! I think people should have freedom in many things, but not things that endanger other peoples' lives."
How dare you suggest that millions of people "endanger other peoples' lives" simply by making different choices than you do? You project the worst expectations onto a gigantic mass of people you clearly do not understand, and call for their prior restraint before they've done anyone harm? How is this not pre-crime in its full Philip K. Dick glory?
"...Should I be forced to carry a weapon in the classroom and on campus? "
See, you understand nothing about me. I am not willing to use force to get the things I want. You have the right to choose, for yourself, what your own response to disaster should be. You do not have the right to make that choice for anyone else who has done no harm.
"....Who are you so scared of that you need guns?"
Well, that seems obvious: you. The people who actually threaten me with violence if I do not do what they want me to do.
And don't mistake simple defiance for fear. (There is a great deal of simple defiance going on lately.) As George Carlin or Frank Zappa might have put it, if someone who doesn't know me tells me without my asking that something is bad for me...well, I'll take two, thanks.
"...It makes me wish we 'd get all the guns off the street..."
Wish all you want. Enact all the law you want. Subjugate everyone who didn't do it all you want. Then act surprised and indignant next time, when the next failure of the same mindset occurs, and more people die.
To which I'd now, looking at it all again, append:
You do understand there will be a "next time", right? Isla Vista was a "next time". Sandy Hook was a "next time". Virginia Tech was a "next time"...