Showing posts with label Virginia Tech. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Virginia Tech. Show all posts

Friday, February 15, 2008

'The work of a madman!'

So long, it's been good to know 'ya.

Words to live by as the disintegration of our culture and our country continues apace as atrocities become so frequent as to lose their shock value. Pearl . . . West Paducah . . . Columbine . . . Red Lake . . . Lancaster County . . . Virginia Tech . . . Omaha . . . Lane Bryant in Chicago . . . and now Northern Illinois University.

This latest gun rampage, by a former NIU grad student, claimed five students' lives before the shooter killed himself. Another young male gone berzerk in the deadliest of fashions.

Another routine atrocity in another American town.

ABOVE is some of the early MSNBC coverage of this latest deadly mayhem. I know all this coverage all starts to look alike and meld into one big, surreal blob as time -- and tragedy -- go by, but I urge you to give it a look for one important reason. On MSNBC's air Thursday evening, someone named the beast.

Someone -- a criminal profiler -- finally told us what's going on. It starts at 3:35 into the clip, with Dan Abrams' interviewing the profiler, Pat Brown.

"Usually these men are young and they're kind of involved in the anti-life kind of culture of young people," she said. "That's why we always have the guy turning up in black . . . usually obsessed with killing."

So far, a pretty good mirror of much of our popular culture. I'd call it the popular culture of a society in its death throes.

But I digress. Back to Brown, the expert on criminals and what makes them tick:

"And it's a very cultural thing," she explained. "If you look back in time, you have kamikaze pilots who killed themselves. And now we have in some cultures suicide bombers; here we have . . . what do you do to get the glory when life is not going well . . . you become a school shooter."

Abrams wonders why we are no longer shocked by our ongoing atrocities.

"It's become the cool thing to do," Brown said. "And it's all over the Net. You can actually go to sites now, and you can talk about how you can be a Columbine guy yourself.

"And so when you decide you want to go out with a blaze of glory, you follow the pattern. You know you're going to get famous doing that."

Kamikazes. Suicide bombers. American young men wanting to do another Columbine. Or now, Virginia Tech.

Death cults, basically. Nihilism run amok. School shooters -- and mall shooters like Robert Hawkins this past December in Omaha -- are our suicide bombers. Terrorists, all.

And they don't come out of nowhere.

IT'S NOT LIKE we weren't warned. The novelist Walker Percy foresaw our times back in 1971, when he wrote "Love in the Ruins: The Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World."

Percy, a minor prophet at least, set his novel in 1983. It actually took us until now to get close enough to Percy's dystopia for a keen observer to think "Whoa!"

At first glace all seems normal hereabouts. But a sharp eye might notice one of two things amiss. For one thing, the inner lanes of the Interstate, the ones ordinarily used for passing, are in disrepair. The tar strips are broken. A lichen grows in the oil stain. Young mimosas sprout on the shoulders.

The author describes a landscape where all is falling apart, including society and politics.

Political parties have careened off toward ideological extremes. The Republicans have become the Knotheads, looking for all the world like the fondest reactionary dreams of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.

The Democrats have become the "Lefts," or, in our real-life vernacular, the Party of Kos.

The country is disintegrating, and the Catholic Church has split into three parts: the Dutch Schismatics, the American Catholics (who play the Star-Spangled Banner at the elevation of the Body and Blood) and the remnant Roman Catholics -- a scattered and dispirited bunch.

And everybody is overcome with angst of one sort or another.

The vines began to sprout in earnest a couple of months ago. People do not like to talk about it. For some reason they'd much rather talk about the atrocities that have been occurring ever more often: entire families murdered in their beds for no good reason. "The work of a madman!" people exclaim. . . .

The center did not hold.

However, the Gross National Product continues to rise.

There are Left states and Knothead states, Left towns and Knothead towns but no center towns (for example, my old hometown over yonder is Knothead, Fedville behind me is Left, and Paradise Estates where I live now does not belong to the center -- there is no center -- but is that rare thing, a pleasant place where Knothead and Left -- but not black -- dwell side by side in peace), Left networks and Knothead networks, Left movies and Knothead movies. The most popular Left films are dirty movies from Sweden. All-time Knothead favorites, on the other hand, include The Sound of Music, Flubber, and the Ice Capades of 1981, clean movies all.

I've stopped going to movies. It is hard to say which is more unendurable, the sentimental blasphemy of Knothead movies like The Sound of Music or sitting in a theater with strangers watching other strangers engage in sexual intercourse and sodomy on the giant 3-D Pan-a-Vision screen.

BUT ENOUGH about that. Let's talk about the latest atrocity, instead -- at Northern Illinois, right?

"The work of a madman!"

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Culture. Of. Death. Literally.

I wish I could say I was shocked.

But what do you expect from a culture so in love with death -- from abortion to euthanasia to capital punishment to virtual murder sprees via video game . . . to flesh-and-blood mass murder by real-life terrorists on college campuses and in shopping malls bedecked in red-and-green Christmas cheer.

it's come to this, as reported by The Daily Collegian at Penn State:
All it took were a couple of pictures posted on the Internet. Mere hours after a Virginia television station reported that Penn State students had uploaded pictures of Halloween partygoers dressing as Virginia Tech shooting victims, criticism exploded from both campuses, with one group denouncing the costumes reaching 4,100 members as of 2 a.m. this morning.

The only publicly accessible picture, uploaded after Halloween, shows a woman wearing an orange Virginia Tech T-shirt smeared with blood and a bullet wound, posing jauntily. According to television station WSLS in Roanoke, Va., several other pictures showed a similarly attired man.

For Virginia Tech students still shaken by a tragedy not yet a year old, the pictures are a slap in the face from students of a university they once lauded for its sensitivity and compassion in the wake of their loss.

University spokesman Bill Mahon, who released a statement to the Blacksburg, Va. campus, said he was shocked by the pictures.

"I certainly find it appalling, as most Penn Staters would find it appalling," he said. He said he believes it happened "off campus, in a private party."

Caitlin Beckett, a sophomore majoring in finance at Virginia Tech, agreed. Learning of the pictures several hours before she was interviewed, she said it was too painful to join the group protesting against it. Her friend, Mary Read, then 19, died in the shootings.

"I just didn't want to think about it -- it's just kind of sickening," she said. "You would think that people, after what happened, would have more respect than that ... even if it happened after five years, it wouldn't be OK."

Virginia Tech freshman Krista Silano wasn't a student at the university when Cho Seung Hui shot and killed 32 students last April, but she remembers the wave of loss and grief that struck the town.

She attended a memorial service with her high school lacrosse team.

"It's going to affect everyone who was affected or even just goes here," she said. "I didn't think that would ever happen from any community. I didn't think anyone would make light of the subject."
TWO DAYS AGO, eight people who didn't deserve it -- as if anyone does -- got blown away by a madman in a shopping mall a mile from where I sit. A woman who has done my wife's hair for probably 15 years, and who has become a friend of hers over those years, hid in the women's room on the third floor of the Von Maur store as Robert Hawkins slaughtered people mere yards away.

This woman helped to fashion a tourniquet out of a man's necktie to stanch the blood flowing from his shot-up arm.

I have no sympathy for the "shock value" antics from a bunch of a**holes at Penn State University.

BY GOD'S GRACE, they laughingly apply fake bullet holes to their own torsos and heads, and coat their bodies with phony blood. By God's grace, they were not in Von Maur at Westroads Mall, nor were they in Norris Hall at Virginia Tech.

God is holy and merciful. I am neither. If it were left up to my grace. . . .