Pick Your Demons in Mass Shootings

(Alternatively: Did It Take A Village To Create The Orlando Killer?)

Homophobia, mental illness, religion…. all different motivators. Does it matter? Is it more important to focus on gun control or the shooter’s incentives? Ultimately, micro-aggressions turn into macro-aggressions which turn into the worst kind of record breaking for american citizens.

All the debate at the moment can be summed up as a conflicting mess of who to think of; do we think of the victims and of the future; homophobia clearly matters right now and gun control matters because it was lgbt+ people being murdered with guns, the whole community is shaken, the line towards open bigotry because clearer and closer, people do not feel safe and perhaps they actually aren’t.

Or do we think of the shooter; of mental illness and religion and race? Because the shooter shot people so they must have been aggressive  and therefore mentally ill (by “definition”), and the shooter claimed allegiance to conflicting religous islamic groups despite not being described as particularly religious and this being during ramadan, race because he wasn’t white so it must be factor and white people never murder people ever.

Or as less mainstream media sources say, shall we think on what we’re not being told; how the shooter was an authoritarian into police work and security and beating up his ex-wife…and why we aren’t being told it by the mainstream media? Is it, as many suspect, because it looks like a far larger number of people than limiting it to the mentally ill and muslims, both targeted groups in their own right.

“An inspector kills calls”, and who killed these people? What incremental steps were taken in each of these areas?

Cops have been consistently glorified for bravery in killing innocent people who were charged with no crime (because they were already dead by then), perhaps there aren’t enough people protesting that..

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(Looping) Gif of Millions March NYC In Protest of Police Brutality in 2014

And even before that, there’s thousands of movies and media glorifying violent stories of battles of strength and blood, and there’s generations of women are blamed for making their men angry, what kind of culture around conflict does this make? One that produces mass murderers on a practically regular basis maybe?

Muslims are alienated and of course it’s nothing to do with with the oil in muslim countries and the battle for power in the mess that remains after colonialism (sarcasm; of course it is.).
Then 9/11 happens and overnight Muslims are completely transformed into simply “pale brown skin with beard maybe” plus “headscarves are bad for women” and a vaguely threatening “Other” because the confusing faith and the confusing attack are now linked forever.
And because the link is so vaguely defined, and the middle eastern tensions that caused both the attack and the initial alienation are so poorly understood, anyone now feels free to claim Islam as a whole as as a scapegoat…even the people who aren’t victims but victimisers. It’s a solid outsider scapegoat with a clearly targetable face, so  hatred against it grows to the point where expressing Nazi-esque deportation dreams are not instant death to a political career. (and don’t challenge that narrative with the truth because it simply won’t get heard).

Mentally ill people are defined as dangerous. Dangerous people are defined as mentally ill. Again, it conflates and conflates and so now of course dangerous people don’t get treated with compassion and treatment, and so mentally ill people don’t either because they aren’t dangerous so they can’t be mentally ill and mental illness treatment is increasingly hard to come by and stigmatised. Now we have a constant scapegoat available just in case the muslim terrorist one doesn’t apply. Illness transcends all boundaries and demographics; what a perfect solution.

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Celebrations after Supreme Court Marriage Ruling

Homosexuality is winning, America has gay marriage! People delight. Now homosexuality is fine but don’t let weirdo trans gender-benders in my bathroom, because they don’t need to pee, they must only exist to scare me (because they do) and therefore that means they are dangerous to me (see mental illness above), I’ll do whatever it takes to find evidence of this.  Homosexuality is accepted but you can fire them for it if you want, you can refuse to serve them if you want. homosexuality is accepted but if you’re a gay character you are tragic and need to die in my show because real people need to know that they will never be gay and happy in this world where it is totally fine to be gay. america is a free country and does not endorse homophobia.

Gun control is too soon to talk about. It’s too soon but  it’s also too late for these now dead people. But look at all the other issues hat it could be! Maybe more guns will fix it and the good guys with guns will never get killed only bad guys. (Police have guns and they kill people and they are the Good Guys TM, why can the rest of the world not be like this corrupt system which has systematic control over who is seen as good and bad, we see no reason why not).

Maybe he was a closet gay man! Fantastic, we can pin it on this aspect of the case, perfect! case closed, it’s circular like an Ouroboros, the fact that there is a closet definitely doesn’t come from the fact that you still have entire churches saying that gay is a sin , entire churches in multiple religions, and entire systems and societies casually endorsing and condoning homophobia and treating lgbt+ people like second class citizens and alien creatures who shouldn’t be seen.

So pick your demons

Who do you think it was? Was it homophobia, gun control, islam, mental illness, being gay, being an authoritarian who loved the force? It won’t bring the 50 people back. It won’t stop the hundreds who have yet to die in the future mass killings, not unless something changes.

Can you get rid of an entire religion because of someone who conflated two different sects whilst they committed their mass murder and who didn’t practise the faith? Can you get rid of people who want to live their lives and don’t want to kill people? Can you stop glorifying violence and force and start respecting love and peace, stop demonising mental illness and start treating it instead (how it needs to be), stop conflating danger with illness in a way that lets dangerous people off the hook?

Respecting the innocent dead is a good sentiment, but respecting the innocent living would be an even better start. Whichever demon is the one stopping this from happening for you, you pick that one, and then go change it.

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EU: You Can Run But You Can’t Hide…from Politics

A political cartoon depicting David Cameron as Saint George fighting a dragon, labelled EU, made up of red tape, as in the metaphor for lengthy bureaucracy.

Quick Thoughts on the EU Leave Campaign

  • their advocates (Katy Hopkins, Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson to name a few) are some highly “controversial” i.e bigoted and small minded individuals that only a minority adore
  • everything’s about immigration; as if the basic person understands anything about whether it’s good or bad for the economy when even the academic community of economists are DEEPLY and PASSIONATELY divided on the subject.
  • when it’s not directly and explicitly about people’s projected insecurities about the mean Other People taking all of Our things, it’s about RED TAPE.
  • as if anyone knows what that means
  • someone shouts something about banana’s
  • no but seriously if the average person doesn’t know the net benefits of immigration (because no one actually knows the real total) then the average person also definitely doesn’t know or understand the purpose and relevance of regulations and standards. snigger about banana rules and the EU rooting through our shopping baskets all you like, but actually, someone’s gotta write rules, or you’d be first in line with your round-looking banana claiming that it’s inadequate.

 

  • for a nation that’s so scared of change like having a *splabour government

(just kidding I am going to do a longer post on this later)

Why We Should Really Hate Spending

My personal favourite new habit since becoming a financially independent adult (at long last!) is drawing up budgets and calculating savings plans. Working out how much I utterly have to spend, on food, travel to work, and on rent. Working how much I’ll save, and balancing that with how much I’ll allow myself to spend.  It’s quite hard to describe the fascination I have with just writing out the numbers and adding them up; I find myself bugging friends and family to let me know their monthly expenditure, their monthly income, how much they could SAVE.

But I’m not as smug as you might think I sound. I know that spending is important to quality of life. Reading this article on why Your Latte Isn’t Why You’re In Debt felt like a personal attack on my budgeting method and general worldview, even though I am utterly the first to defend your right to buy something entirely fun and frivolous and joy-making, no matter what your income is. And that’s not a contradictory statement.

Spenders vs Savers (vs Misers vs Feckless)

In the language of money that we use every day, we have a generic image that spending is desirable, and saving is hard. We all personally know people who spend too much, and people who hate to spend anything above their budget. Sophie Kinsella’s “Confessions of A Shopaholic” is a book that perfectly encapsulates our simulatenous fascination and revulsion with extravagent and frivous spending; we hate it, but damn it do we love pretty nice new things!

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Retail Therapy vs Escaping Properly

David Cain explains this irony to utmost perfection in his blog post “Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed”. Essentially (and it is utterly worth a read, any summary I can write is far from an adequate substitute!) we spend money to make ourselves happy and relieve the stress of work, which we do in order to earn money, in order to spend it, in order to cope with working, etcetera. Whilst writing this blog post I realised that this is a major factor in my personal spending, but there’s far more to this than “and you too can save tonnes of money!”.

See the irony is that to save money, we first have to not emotionally depend on it. Which is harder when it looks when society can so easily be built on endless consumption, but also far more necessary than we might realise when dependance on material goods, instead of something like meaningful human connections and kindness is at the centre of our worldwide philosophy. Our understanding of saving as a “neccessary evil that no one really does” is a shallow substitute for the real route of money-related misery, because the real solution is so completely different and conflicting with consumerism.

Spending Money Is A Political Act

Without our endless earning and spending cycle, the world would be a better place for the environment and people who can live directly from it. But that’s probably not going to happen, and if it did, it would be a terrible waste. We have technology to make amazing things, it only becomes a problem when we let go of our lives in order to make them, and sacrifice the worlds resources and our humanity for them. The more that we rely on external material sources of happiness alone however, the less joy we get from them; it’s basic diminishing marginal returns. Millionaires, billionaires and trillionaires aren’t that many magnitudes happier than any other person who can afford basic healthcare, shelter and food.

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But it is billionaires and the owners of capital who we make richer every day when we spend money. On anything.

With this in mind, spending becomes a political act. Not in the sense of boycotting specific companies or brands (though that’s totally a topic for another day), but in the sense of limiting our interaction with capitalism AS A WHOLE. Yeah, I need to buy tights occassionally, but I’m not going to be happy about it, because I know what that represents and what it means for the wider world as a whole.

 

Watch out for Part 2, where I’ll explore several alternatives to our current material lifestyles ^_^


Related Links and Sources: http://www.raptitude.com/2010/07/your-lifestyle-has-already-been-designed/
http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-5-stupidest-habits-you-develop-growing-up-poor/
http://www.theguardian.com/money/2010/nov/20/what-people-earn
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/11/lost-hands-making-flatscreens-no-help

(Some of these will make their way into posts of their own eventually.)