#AnothaOne: UCLA and Courage without Resolve
I’m supposed to be shocked, right? I’m supposed to be rushing to my phone to call my friends and loved ones, checking online for the latest updates. But this morning as a shooter murdered someone – let that sink in, murdered someone– I scrolled through some relevant Twitter feeds on my lunch break and absentmindedly texted my friends, without worrying too much if they didn’t respond quickly. Tonight, I’ll wait for the wave of the #neverforget or #jesuisUCLA (or whatever the fuck hashtags are being used now) profile pictures, and listen in on Obama’s latest resigned address on the matter. Shock value was good the first few times – for Virginia Tech when I was too young to understand it, or for Sandy Hook when the victims were the ones that were too young.
But I’m more pissed than I am shocked.
The people – or person in this case – had literally nothing better to do with their time (or their life, really) than lock down an entire city. You might think that’s crazy, but today, it was anything but. This piece of shit (whose name I wouldn’t say even if I knew) was apparently a student. One who made a series of rational decisions to procure a weapon, bring it to campus, probably have a decaf latte, reveal his gun, threaten people, murder a professor, and then decide that his bucket list didn’t have that many cool items on it.
Insanity doesn’t discriminate.
But this was specific. The gunman didn’t fire some rounds off in his backyard to blow off steam. The intentionality here was somewhere between the impromptu standoff in the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie and the predictable boiling point of the Washington Wizards locker room. And we have the audacity to be mad that he murdered an associate professor. ‘How could he’ we think, no, ‘how dare he?’ ‘How dare he walk in here, into our institution of higher learning, and kill someone important, someone respected?’ But the gunman was a student. He had likely walked on the route he took that morning many times, maybe even had a class with this professor.
So, the insanity I’m speaking of isn’t about the gunman. It’s about those who created him. Some responsibility may lie with the literal interpretation – as in, his parents. But remove any of the elements in the chain of events that occurred this morning, and this doesn’t happen. Take away the fact that someone was murdered, and no one cares. Ray Rice didn’t get temporarily banned from the NFL and sent to jail until after we saw the video of himdecking his fiancée in the face (oh wait, he was only suspended 2 games). Without that, this incident becomes a shining example of how the good guys with the gun beat the bad guy with a gun, and how effectively we keep teaching our kids where to hide as their peers and elders drop around them.
Monsters are scary.
And they usually happen to be created by men. Monsters love to break out against shackles designed to contain them, the presence of which fuels them to become monsters in the first place. Yet instead of tightening the chains or adding a few extra restraints, their wardens give us some of their blood, encouraging us to become just like those monsters. (or weird blue versions of them, at least) The thing is, once we do, there aren’t any chains around our necks. This is their policy – the conscious choice of those who hold legal sway.
We should be the ones with the fervor and passion in this case. Yet we’re losing to the ones who are emotionally charged about their weapons – all because we chose logic and reason as grief stares us in the face, which is somehow a mistake. We fought the fight of gun control, when the venue we’re fighting in is the court of culture.
Of course, this is the time that we’re taught to not politicize an issue. ‘Let the bodies be buried,’ they say. ‘Show some respect while their blood still runs warm.’ ‘Even Voldemort gave Harry a full hour to fuck around before coming to the forest.’ Despite the fact that I’d much rather prefer their blood to stay at least lukewarm for a few more decades, this is exactly the time to go all Bill Simmons on it. We’ve shown how we can stay together when there’s someone bad driving us to that point.
In the search for another effective force, we’ve discussed and discounted anger, fear, and rationality. All we have left is the resounding belief in ourselves to do and be better than those that are there now. So let’s show solidarity. Let’s just not forget it in the face of ineptitude.
Because that’s the thing we should really be shocked by.