Yes, I'm talking of the Aaron Alexis shooting and all that. And, although my focus is not on the event itself but on something else, I can't help but say a few words on that one as well.
So, a guy with a long and well documented record of mental disorders (hearing voices in his head, etc), and with an even more extensive record of gun-related incidents (shot at some guy's tires, etc), is STILL allowed to get his paws on a gun without a problem, and not only that, but also to enter a secured military facility, and start merrily shooting at folks? Huh?
You guys are soooo fucked. And this, coming from an actual Mozambican-South African. You get the picture, I think.
Even to a damned Third-World furrinner like myself, hearing of such occurrences in the Land of the Brave and the Free has gained such a customary character that sometimes I ask myself which is the norm and which is the deviation now. In a country of 300+ million and possibly as many interpretations of the freedom to own and bear arms, these tragedies have become part of every-day life to such an extent that I'm beginning to suspect the public's tolerance to them has reached the stratosphere and these are no longer more shocking or thought-provoking than some attention whore's bare-ass tongue-sticking shenanigans at some dumb music awards show.
But that's not what shocks me.
See, I was stupid enough to tune in for CNN the other day, and what do I see? Tons of police cars, firefighter trucks, FBI SUVs, ambulances - fine - but also, as many reporter cars, camera guys running in all directions, and hordes of reporters, TV pundits and the likes dashing like crazy all around the place. 24/7 coverage by some dumbheads yelling incoherently much to the effect of, "We're seeing something happening over there but we're not sure what it is; so let's fill the next few hours with some wild speculations and later pretend we didn't utter them". Without a trace of shame. It's become more of a reality show than the reality shows proper. And sure, people sit and watch it. And form an opinion based on all that.
I don't do this very often, except sometimes when I watch sports, but this time I couldn't help yelling right at the TV. "Wolf Blitzer, who tricked you into believing that you come anywhere close to being a fucking journalist!?"
Maybe that's just how folks across the Big Water roll, I don't know. It's gotta be that, or else the conclusions would be even more disturbing. Something about mass derangement and other mental disorders of continental proportions comes to mind. Enlighten me, please. Is that just a cultural thing? Maybe if someone has been raised there and been exposed 24/7 to this "reality-show" life format since even before they've learned to walk on two legs and recognize the 26 letters of the alphabet, all of this would seem perfectly natural? Or are the media solely to blame for crafting this atmosphere of vicarious voyeurism by forcefully funneling this showbiz mentality into people's heads over many many years through this omnipresent, omnipotent medium that is television? Or both? Which is it?
Perhaps all it takes to be happy is to somehow achieve a sense of self-sufficiency through this twisted mirror of a virtual reality that radiates through TV? And a huge bowl of popcorn of course, and a soft sofa where one could sink their ass and munch it all, while swallowing the worthless talking-points and lame soundbites they're constantly being bombarded with, inbetween the endless commercial breaks? Sprinkle some dramatic-sounding tunes and mind-blowing 3D effects, slap a catchy caption across the screen - and they're your slaves for the rest of the evening!
To the outside observer, the whole thing has started resembling a theme park, whose denizens are treated like toddlers, and they never fail to act accordingly. And not just ones who are painfully reluctant to leave the room and the sofa, but who don't care (and don't feel they should care) about what's going on beyond those four walls. Like Plato's cave, all they see is the warped 2D shades of a distant and incomprehensible 3D reality that's being interpreted for them by a bunch of talking-heads, always with an agenda, that they've chosen to give their trust to, based on their respective
Ps. All of the above, of course, being a blatant generalization, and our respectable folks in this very place being utterly exempt of the description. ;)