Had another one the other day, apparently both a madman and a would-be jihadi, and as usual, everyone retreated to their favorite corners and they're still in them: you've got the nervous-Nellie gun banners, who are horrified he had a gun at all, and even more horrified that it's okay to carry a (declared and unloaded*) gun in (checked, locked, hard-sided) aircraft luggage; you've got the guy who grumps there were too few guns at the scene and hey, if I ran the world, people who attempt such violence would indeed be stopped rapidly by those around them, but I don't and the State of Florida takes a dim (for chargeable values of dim) view of carrying loaded firearms anywhere in an airport; there's the crazed-veteran-with-PTSD narrative and it may even be true, but the Pentagon is more worried about it than we are (can you say "stop-loss?" It doesn't work if soldiers are broken), and has been for longer; and so on and on.
There's a lot of heat and a lot of posturing, but no more light than we ever had, and then--
Then some clever type expressed the wistful hope that an impulsive President Trump wouldn't have to deal with something like this, or, worse, a Sandy Hook-type incident.
He almost certainly will. While it's still a rare kind of crime on a per-unit-time or per-capita basis, they keep happening and unlike nearly every other category of violent crime, the trend is not downward. Granting a certain steady rate of murderous, reality-deficient losers who aren't detected, deflected or stopped before their first hit, civilization also has an ongoing problem with Islamoid mass-killers† -- and an even bigger problem with a flavor of Islam that keys only too well into the thoughts of aggrieved men in the "MRA" mold, aggrieved men of color feeling locked out, would-be barbarians and those who long for a "return to traditional values." --A little something for every loser, and the price of admission is just religious conversion, if they don't happen to have been raised in the faith already. It's showing a definite growth rate and as it grows, so do the mostly-amateur killings. I don't think Mr. Trump has a magic wand to stop it before it happens; I doubt anyone does.
So, what next? I don't know. Over the long term, I do know that Western Civilization does, eventually, turn very ugly when threatened. I think we may have a chance to see that, up close and at full steam. We may not like it much.
* Yes, "unloaded." The FAA and airlines aren't much minded to debate the Four Rules: they want the chamber and magazine, if in place, e-m-p-t-y and the cartridges securely stored.
† We lack an in-between word, and so mass killings in the Holocaust, Gulags and the fields of Pol Pot's Cambodia, firebombing cities and dropping H-bombs get the same tag as some horrible loser shooting a half-dozen innocents at a mall. The death of the undeserving is indeed not scalar: it is as evil to kill one as a thousand, but we really need terms to distinguish between nation-state-sized activity and small numbers of murderers with small-arms or petty-ante death-dealing machinery.
Working On A Starship
4 weeks ago