Thursday, August 19, 2010

Where The Newspaper Used To Be

Today, an article about the 3 August in which a late-night barbecue in a rough neighborhood was shot up by a "masked mystery gunman," killing two attendees and injuring six more breathlessly informs us poor rubes that the masked man was, in fact, two men, that the weapons were a "Glock and a semiautomatic"* and that -- aha! -- the shooting was in response to an argument a friend of the shooters had been involved in at the barbecue earlier that night; said friend and the shooters crossed paths at a memorial for a homicide victim. The argument itself was over the murder of yet anther person. "Don't worry about it," one of the shooters is said to have told the friend, "Just read about it in the paper."

I'm told one of the biggest threats to stability in much of the Middle East is an "honor culture" with very long-lived feuds, in which no slight can be allowed to go unavenged. A culture, I'm told, very foreign to modern Americans.

I'm not so sure it's all that foreign any more, here on the home front. There's been a lot of attention given to the barbarians outside the gates but it seems to me our country has been busily breeding its own home version. It's not a good sign.
* I was gonna ask if the same reporter would describe vehicles involved in a road-rage incident as "A Ram and a pickup truck," but he probably would, and think nothing of it. Elsewhere in the article, we are informed the other semiauto was "an assault-style weapon," which could be anything from a tarted-up .22LR to a Russian shotgun. Their victims shot back, leaving "One spent 12-gauge shotgun shell...front porch, one 1.12 shotgun shell and one spent 9mm...backyard." 1.12 gauge? It seems a bit large. Newspapers and guns: don't know, don't care, won't learn.


Ian Argent said...

The "honor culture" was brought to our shores by the descendants of the Celts, who mainly fetched up in Appalachia. In the southeast, when the weapons laws aren't racist in origin, they're trying (and failing) to suppress duelling, feuding, and generalized inter-clan mayhem.

There are many admirable things to be said for an honor/shame culture, but on the whole I prefer to live in a trust-based culture

Bubblehead Les. said...

Yep, we've created Homegrown Barbarians. Then add to the mix the Imported kind. That's why when I start going back to the Inner City next week, I've decided to retire my Snubbie and carry my 3rd. Gen Smith (4043) instead. Wolves travel in Packs, and I'd hate to be caught between 2 of them fighting over some B.S. issue. Shame that Society is so bad when "Six for Sure" just doesn't give you enough ammo to escape a firefight.

Old Grouch said...

"I'm not so sure it's all that foreign any more, here on the home front."

Pace Ian: Hatfields + McCoys?


It's hard to maintain a trust-based culture where (1) you can't assume default behavior will be trustworthy and (2) the authorities are corrupt/indifferent when a breach of trust occurrs. Often the case where the Celts came from; too common today in the 'hood.

Ian Argent said...

@Old Grouch. I said I preferred it. Not that we had it everywhere, or that we weren't in danger of losing it. I think I'm also crossing terminology, too. Anyway, the point I was trying to make it that "honor cultures" weren't ever foreign to America, and that we've had "barbarians" in the American stew pot since the beginning. And we've had the cultural hero who's mad as hell and not going to take it any more embedded in our national myth for as long as there's been a nation.

It does concern me that there are cultures inside the country that feel they don't have recourse outside a clan/tribal structure, but that's noting new for America, particularly among the poor and politically disenfranchised.

Anonymous said...

FYI: Glock, in that culture, means any black self-loading pistol.

Shootin' Buddy

Anonymous said...

Which culture, the newsmavens or the bushwackers? (your answer may be multiple choice)

- Ian Argent(anon due to mobility)

Joanna said...

There's a difference between honor cultures and "everybody owes me" cultures.

Ian Argent said...

@Joanna: Correct. Neither are the two cultures exclusive, in the US or elsewhere.

Stranger said...

I am 77 - and have more than five million miles under my wheels, wings, and keel. I have never found a real "trust based culture." Not here, not in Europe, and not in Asia.

While Erewhon and Utopia are fine in their place, people are pretty much people. If they think there will be serious consequences if they don't come back with the change, I can hand them a $100 bill and they will bring me change. If they don't think that, I will never see them again.