The Killing Idea
By the killing idea I mean the idea of the modern killing spree. This idea, in the sense I mean it, seems to be a relatively new idea. I’m talking about the phenomenon where one or two individuals enter a school, a theater, a mall, a church, a military installation, or some other public space and randomly kill as many people as possible with the aid of modern firearms. This is a phenomenon that is now a regular occurrence in American life. It has become an idea. Something one can do. A possible course of action. An option. I don’t know if this idea occurred to people in earlier contemporary times, but it seems to have been infrequently acted upon if it did. But now the idea is out there. As an idea it has become a viable option. It is now on the menu of possible ways to respond to frustration over this or that. This idea coupled with the availability of modern firearms allows one or two individuals to wage a very brief and highly violent war upon unsuspecting innocents for the sake of an ideology, or as an expression of rage, or as a way of throwing a final lethal tantrum as one exits this life. It’s an idea. Or you could call it a demon. Anyway, it’s out there.
But what I find baffling is how tolerant it appears American society is of this idea. Or at least American legislative bodies. Oh, we don’t like it, but we are determined tolerate it. We don’t seem to have an alternative idea to curb this killing idea that doesn’t impinge upon what is thought of as “freedom” or some “right.” So the killing idea is tolerated.