Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Gunman goes on rampage

with 3 comments


And Doug’s Darkworld starts posting again. No, they’re not related. I got my Internet connection back (I merely had to pay off the right people) so it’s time to start posting again. It’s not a good time though, personally this past week was the saddest week of the saddest month of my life. And some of my friends and family have suffered even worse losses.  And in the world, well, another mass shooting in the USA. April can be a bad month in the USA: Columbine, Virginia Tech, and now Binghamton.

What’s up with these mass shootings anyhow? As always, it’s complicated. For one thing, statistically, nothing.  A person’s chances of being killed by a crazed gunman in America is still so low as to be essentially zero. On the other hand, events like this send shock waves of pain through society, starting with the nearest and dearest to the victims, and spreading out from there. Aided and augmented by intense media coverage.

Which leads to my first point, all this media attention is not a good thing. Monkey see, monkey do. While most people aren’t going to be inclined to rush out and shoot a bunch of people because of seeing something like this on the news, some unstable and weak people will be given ideas. Add to that the current stresses as the economy continues to slide, and our culture’s “justified retribution” archetype, and voilà, the occasional nutbar decides to kill all those who have wronged him. I might also point out that endless immigrant bashing by certain public figures might have played a role in this particular shooting, but that could be misconstrued.

No, shootings like Binghamton aren’t really a big danger to most folks. Fortunately the government is protecting us from the real risks we face. And right now the biggest threat to America appears to be insurgents in central Asian caves, or the possibility that an impoverished isolated  Pacific rim country might launch a 50’s era ballistic missile. Hmm. Maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but neither of these seems like terribly big threats. I mean unless one is in a boat in the Sea of Japan and almost astronomically unlucky, or are so clueless as to vacation in Afghanistan or rural Pakistan, neither of these threats are threats at all.

So if the insurgents in Afghanistan aren’t really a threat to the USA, why the hell is it so important that we stay there? Simple, it’s all high ground. Yes, the Obama administration with its high regard for science has decided that the climatologists are right, and that global warming will cause sea levels to rise dramatically in decades to come. So it’s important that he USA control the high ground, and central Asia is about as high as it gets. See, foreign policy is easy to understand.

Locally of course the only hazard is being caught in a shoot out with the police, or getting caught in a riot protesting a shoot out with the police. The recent shooting of four Oakland police officers was a terrible thing, but as always it is somewhat misrepresented in the mainstream media. There’s a terrible problem with the Oakland police being perceived as “the enemy” in some Oakland neighbourhoods, and frankly there seems to be some truth to it. There are solutions to this sort of problem, but the government of Oakland, is, well, corrupt and incompetent. As in many (but not all) big cities.

In any event I will post regularly from now on, Internet connection willing. I won’t be doing as many focused posts as I’d like, becasue frankly I’m a little unfocused now. The old world is continuing to unravel around us though, so I want to keep making observations as we spin gently downwards.

“If the economy becomes disembodied from society it can only lead to disaster.”Susan George, famous political scientist I’ve never heard of before.

“Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster.”William Tecumseh Sherman, famous (or infamous) general.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and is arguably a historically important image. It’s not a nice picture. It’s the SS at work in Russia. I got it from this fine site, but it’s not for the faint of heart. I am planning on discussing some of history’s great atrocities and calamities this spring and summer, just for the perspective  they may give us of course.)


Written by unitedcats

April 4, 2009 at 8:21 am

Posted in Berkeley, Crime, World

3 Responses

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  1. Sorry the personal life has been difficult, and hope things get better for you soon.

    Oakland is a symptom of the war on drugs, frankly.

    Mahakal / מהכאל

    April 4, 2009 at 8:40 am

  2. About the high ground… apparently one of the reasons why China is so invested in Tibet is for that very reason. Tibet with it’s high elevation provides alot of the water for the surrounding areas (mountain springs, snow melt, etc.) Further, artillery becomes much more effective when placed at higher elevation to one’s enemy.


    April 4, 2009 at 10:10 am

  3. Doug,
    Welcome back. I’ve missed your thoughts and current commentary. So sorry to hear you have experienced some massive personal pains. I admire your mature humility in being able to admit your losses and felt pain publically while still preserving the privacy of personal details that should not be exploited for eliciting sympathy (as so many others do).

    My prayers and warm thoughts are extended to you.



    April 5, 2009 at 10:05 am

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