How exceptional is the U.S.A.? Shall we count the ways? It is definitely exceptional that we can expect, on a regular basis, guys with multiple guns to walk into schools, shopping malls and even restaurants and start shooting people.
The shock value of these shooting incidents has been diluted by repetition. And we know that each one is treated as an individual “lone-nut” thing. Because we must not address the larger social/cultural/political/ spiritual reasons why this has become a regular and frequent thing in exceptional America.
The seminal Lone Nut, the model, was Lee Harvey Oswald, the designated patsy in the JFK assassination. Oswald, for extra measure, had been to Soviet Russia and so could conveniently be tagged as a communist or at least a sympathizer. You know, un-American for sure. Then we got Sirhan Sirhan, who took the rap for killing Bobby Kennedy and gave us an early taste of Islamophobia. Not long after, a southern white guy named James Earl Ray (don’t they all have three names?), all on his own of course, shot Martin Luther King Jr. The fact that the Kennedys and King had serious enemies in high places was mere coincidence. Then some guy called Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon, a musician who obviously didn’t know his place and had the temerity to protest war in a big, loud way that reached a whole lot of people. Each of these men, killed by Lone Nuts, just happened to be messing with the wrong forces. Thank goodness these powers were relieved of these annoyances by unhinged individuals, who of course were connected in no way to government, big business or any other institution threatened by the murdered men.
Conspiracy Theory became a popular buzzword and still serves handsomely to dismiss or trivialize anyone questioning the Official Story. And the official story is always of a Lone Nut.
We do have real Lone Nuts of course, after all there is no political reason to fire on random people in a school, shopping center or restaurant. Is there?
So the question becomes, how do they get that way, and why do they do it. We have theories and statements from experts of all stripes. The gun control dialog is a complete waste of time and energy, since like drugs, people who want them will get them. The legality — or not — of these commodities is irrelevant. The question is, why do they want guns? And there are those who would like to blame violent movies and video games, but why are people drawn to these? Are we an inherently angry and vengeful lot? We sure do like to see the “bad guys” get it, don’t we? Shouldn’t the vicarious experience of violent entertainment be enough? Apparently, not for everyone.
Well these are the questions, and I won't pretend to answer them. But I am suggesting that our culture refuses to examine itself. And why is that? As the head monkey said to Charlton Heston as rode off to find the truth, “You might not like what you find.”