Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pretending To Care

Aurora, Colorado: As families and friends of the victims of yesterday’s tragic shootings gather to mourn for the departed, a storm of suspicion is gathering over the institution some say is at the heart of the nation’s recent epidemic of mass homicides, the American medical school.

In the early hours of confusion surrounding the attacks at a screening of “The Dark Night Rises” at an Aurora movie theater, some media outlets and politicians erroneously tied the shootings to the
Tea Party movement, the Democratic Party, violent videogames, andenemies of Judeo-Christianity. But as details on the shooter emerge, a clearer picture is coming into focus. The sole suspect in the shootings, James Holmes, was a recent drop-out from the University of Colorado medical school.

Experts caution that it is too early to say that the suspect’s medical education led him down a path ending in mass murder, but many are reminded of Dr. Nidal Hassan, who is presently awaiting trial for his role in the Fort Hood shootings of November 2009, and who, like James Holmes,
attended medical school.

“I don’t want to speculate on whether attending medical school inspired the Batman killer’s rampage,” said Professor Lewis Deery of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in an interview on MSNBC, “but the similarities are eerie. Here you have one graduate of a medical school opening fire, with no apparent motive, on innocent people on an Army base, and here you have another man who attended medical school opening fire, with no apparent motive, on innocent people at a midnight movie. Am I saying that these men were trained to kill when they attended medical school? No, but that possibility can’t be discounted based on the limited information we have at this time.”

In a roundtable discussion on the Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends, Ariel Spain of the Columbia School of Journalism’s Tragedy Studies Department echoed Professor Deery’s caution concerning the Dark Knight shooter’s medical background. “It would be irresponsible, and reckless, to claim that James Holmes was programmed to become an unthinking assassin at the Colorado medical school simply because of the countless cases in which medical school graduates have gone on murder sprees, but many are asking themselves, right now, about the similarities between the Aurora shootings and the
case of Dr. Jeffrey McDonald, who murdered his entire family in the 1970s. In both cases, I’ll note, the murderer attended a highly regarded medical school.

Following a moment of silence for the fallen in the United States House of Representatives, House majority leader Eric Cantor promised a grieving nation that its Congress would conduct a full investigation into the causes of the Aurora shootings. “It’s far too early to say whether the nefarious crimes of the infamous assassin James Eagan Holmes were the work of insidious medical professors, transforming our nation’s best and brightest into psychopathic killing machines. But,” Cantor informed the House, “the American people have a right to know.”

Across the capital, Attorney General Eric Holder convened a news conference on the killings, promising federal aid to Colorado authorities in conducting full, fair, and impartial investigation into the tragedy. “I cannot comment on specifics of the case at this time, and it would be imprudent for me to speculate on who may be responsible for these horrific crimes at the outset of an investigation, but let me assure the grieving people of Aurora that the Department of Justice will hold all those who aided and abetted this tragedy responsible, from the lowest professor to the Dean of the medical college himself.”

Historians of past calamities reiterated the Attorney General’s warning against pre-judging the case. On C-Span’s Books in Review, Dr. Thomas Waltham of the American University’s Department of European History warned against a “witch hunt” in connection with the Aurora case. “Time and again, we historians see cases in which the people are led, by politicians, the media, and religious leaders into demonizing some despised minority for the actions of one. That only compounds the tragedy. It would be reckless to tie the Batman shootings into some historical framework of past atrocities by medical school graduates, such as the infamous
“Doctor’s Plot” in the Soviet Union, where prosecutors showed that a sinister cabal of people who, just like Nidal Hassan and the Batman killer, attended medical school had committed an unspeakably vile series of murders aimed at destabilizing and overthrowing the government.”

Representatives of the American Association of Medical Colleges, which represent medical schools including the Colorado institution where James Eagan Holmes was allegedly trained, were contacted for comment, but did not return telephone calls before this story went to press.

Perhaps you think my satirical response is offensive? Perhaps you are outraged? Relax, in a few minutes, your limited attention span and narcotized slothful acceptance of any reality that doesn't make you think or have to question your morality will kick in and you'll just forget about it.
Musical segue:
Americans do a great job of proclaiming our collective shock and outrage when some nut for the gazillionth time opens fire on a crowd of innocent bystanders at a movie theater, a college, a high school, a museum, or a post office, but at some point, if we aren't going to do anything about it, maybe it's time we stopped the charade of pretending we actually care.

How many people have to be massacred in front of us, while we do nothing (and, instead, actually enable the death), before it's time to conclude that perhaps we are part of the problem? Problem? what problem...the conservative gun loons think that if we only had more guns, this tragedy could have been lessened if someone else in the movie theater had been carrying a gun and took down the lone shooter.  Colorado laws allow people to carry concealed guns.
But what could anyone have done?
Consider this report of the shooting:
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said the gunman wore a gas mask, a ballistic helmet and vest, and leg, groin and throat protectors. He said he had an AR-15 military-style, semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and two pistols.
The attacker had the element of surprise, was heavily armed and wore a ballistic vest. It was dark and he threw smoke grenades at the start of the spree. Is it really likely that an armed member of the audience might have stopped him, in the dark and under cover of smoke grenades? Really?
From EJ Dionne at the Moderate Voice:
For all the dysfunction in our political system, a healthy pattern usually takes hold when a terrible tragedy seizes the nation’s attention.
Anyone who dares to say that an event such as the massacre at a Colorado movie theater early Friday morning demands that we rethink our approach to the regulation of firearms is accused of “exploiting” the deaths of innocent people.

This is part of the gun lobby’s rote response, and the rest of us allow it to work every time. Their goal is to block any conversation about how our nation’s gun laws, the most permissive in the industrialized world, increase the likelihood of mass killings of this sort.
So let’s ask ourselves: Aren’t we all in danger of being complicit in throwing up our hands and allowing the gun lobby to write our gun laws? Awful things happen, we mourn them, and then we shrug. And that’s why they keep happening.
The Boomtown Rats wrote "I don't like Mondays" in 1979, thirty-three years ago. Violence in America isn't a recent problem. It's been going on for a while now. And nothing serious is ever done about it because the gun lobby is ruthless, owns the Republican party, and preys on the Democrats usual fear of doing anything that isn't agreeable to 100% of the American people.

So the next time some nut goes on a shooting spree with weapons the gun lobby made it easier for him to get - and he will - let's stop pretending like we care, because as a nation we really don't.


Ol'Buzzard said...

And if you get your news from Fox and Friends, then let's not forget Dr Strangelove.

That alone should be proof it is the Dr Death connection. Obviously tied in with death panels - so it is probably the Democratic Doctors of death at it again.
the Ol'Buzzard

mud_rake said...

Point well taken, Microdot. Last evening during dinner a friend [actually a Catholic nun] remarked, "Sadly, we'll soon forget that massacre and in a week, our attention will be elsewhere."


What is it about us Americans that we loose focus so quickly? Are we, as a group, ADD? Or have we become numb to tragedy after tragedy- so many, so often that we become immune to it all?