The title is from a WW I Allied enlistment poster featuring a slavering subhuman in a pickelhaube, bloody club in one hand and a fair maiden representing Liberty or Justice* or Democracy in peril clutched in his other arm.
Real life isn't that easy. It wasn't even that simple then. Today's monster lives just down the street -- or in a Pittsburgh apartment block. There aren't any sure ways to stop such people ahead of time; we can work to build a society where the kind of sentiments he is reported to have expressed are unacceptable among decent people, but there will always be be people who express them anyway. You can say, "Shoot back," but though it's a satisfying thought, it's not always a practical solution for the average person (or even the average concealed carrier) -- and may be unacceptable to some groups.
The murderous outrage in Pittsburgh is the most recent example. In response, police agencies across the country have stepped up patrols near synagogues or even stationed patrol cars at them during religious services. Religious freedom is a foundational element of the United States and the overwhelming majority of citizens and residents will not tolerate attacks on worshipers.
The usual partisan hue and cry has been raised; the President has spoken out against this crime, as he did against the mailbomber, and has been blamed for both nevertheless. Me, I'll blame the people who commit the crimes; I don't think individual decent, sane people are lured to commit such acts by mainstream political figures. While the "average guy" may indeed be capable of atrocity,† he does so by "going along to get along," as humans have done since time immemorial. These lone killers are something else -- dangerous lunatics, uncontrolled by moral concerns or societal norms. The Internet makes it possible for them to find like-minded others, just as innocent quilters and cat-lovers congregate. If there's a way to sieve the truly dangerous from the general mass of noisy Internet creeps and nutters, neither Facebook nor the NSA has figured it out yet.
Be careful out there. Practice being nice to others -- and keep a wary eye out for deranged violence.
* That would explain her off-the-bosom dress.
† See the book Ordinary Men, if you have a strong stomach.
The Problem With Captains
3 weeks ago