Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stochastic terrorism

This article by dKos writer G2geek is getting a lot of coverage or at least exposure, and it seems to fit in with my notion that these routine killing sprees are actually "triggered," in G2geek's view by cultural and media contexts, they are not the accidental outcomes of "lone wolves" or "psychotic nuts" gone inexplicably rogue.

They are "triggered."

G2geek doesn't discount the possibility that the triggering may be intentional, but seems to shy away from it nonetheless. In such a toxic cultural and media environment, one can assume that some people will be triggered to act out their fantasies and kill. One doesn't have to trigger them intentionally; it happens automatically -- and regularly. And yet, if those who do the triggering are aware of their power to set the killers in motion, why not do it intentionally, at particular times and places, if it's possible to do so?

I can understand shying away from the Tinfoil on a topic like this, but often enough the conspiracy you suspect is actually real, or some version of it is.

One of the aspects in Loughner's case that I find very intriguing is that he really does seem to be trying to communicate (in those videos) what is happening to him. All the talk about mind control and how it is being done may not make sense on the surface but if you think about it in the context of Stochastic Terrorism, you start to realize, "OMG! He's trying to tell us!" I think we'll see that with a lot of the other Shooters out there, too. They understand that they are being "driven" by a force or forces completely beyond their control, and in so many cases, they can point to something in the media that has triggered their rage.

I've noticed who's been out defending the "vitriol" and denying that it has anything to do with the creation of these shootings, each of which, of course, is a singular event with no connection to anything else.

It is the entire Republican political establishment. It is the entire Rightist media complex. It is most of the Mainstream Media plex. It is almost all the Libertarian media -- including the "progressive" blogosphere (Jane and Glenn have become especially shrill in defending the vitriol.) And I noticed last night with a kind of horror that Ezra Klein has taken to defending the vitriol too. Though he rattled on at great length, he was not making a coherent argument; he was all over the map, flailing. And when he was confronted, by another commentator, he practically had a meltdown right there on the teevee.

A case can be made that he wasn't actually defending the vitriol, only the freedom to be vitriolic without being blamed for shoot-em-ups, but the case being made for Stochastic Terrorism is that shoot-em-ups are the inevitable consequence of the kind of media vitriol that Americans are soaked in.

I'm reminded of something from years ago. I think most people who read this little corner of Cyberspace know that I live in Sacramento -- when I'm in California! -- and have lived here for quite a while. Most people know that Rush Limbaugh got his major media start here when he was given a regular show on KFBK Radio. It was at the time a very provocative, even shocking show, but not a whole lot different than his national show now. One of the targets for his vitriol was gay people. It was early in the AIDS epidemic, and he railed against gay people day in and day out. All of a sudden, "incidents" started happening. Gay men -- and suspected gay men -- were being attacked all over town, some badly injured, and I believe one was killed. People were horrified. The police were stymied. The mayor, however, recognized that these attacks stemmed from Limbaugh's constant raving against gay people on his radio show, and she called on him publicly to desist. Of course he denied any mal intent -- as he always does -- but he did tell his followers that he never wanted any of them to attack anyone and if any of his followers were involved in the attacks, he wanted them to stop.

Sure enough. They stopped. At least for a while.

In this case, it wasn't "unstable" people who were being influenced to attack targeted outsiders mindlessly. It was pretty ordinary folks exposed to a constant diet of media rage and outrage, with the implication, always, that they had "permission" to act out their rage violently. This is little different than the talk radio influencing, aiding, abetting and enabling the genocide in Rwanda.

At some point, Americans and their media have got to come to grips with the pervasiveness of hatred and rage and gun violence as the "solution" that they purvey and absorb all the time. People ARE triggered to act. And the outcome gets worse and worse.

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