When I was growing up, we didn’t necessarily expect law enforcement to be happy with all the hell we raised. Technically, TPing someone’s house or tipping over their outhouse was vandalism but no one would have expected or condoned an officer pulling his gun under such circumstances. Putting a condom on the tailpipe of the cop’s car or plugging it with a potato were frowned upon by the victims, laughed at by the kids and smiled tolerantly at by most grownups, including the cops (once their blood pressure got back to normal).
It was common for us kids to stay out well after dark, often ‘camping out’ on someone’s lawn for all-night bull-sessions. We sometimes raided a garden – our own or others’ – for spuds and veggies to roast in a campfire. One gent in the neighborhood tried to grow corn: at 7700+ elevation & a 3-month growing season it got about 31/2 feet tall and the cob about 3 inches. Nevertheless, he was extremely proud and possessive of it. When a couple of us grabbed a few of the mini-cobs, he discovered us and let loose with a shotgun. Fortunately, we were too far away for buckshot to be very effective. But we were justifiably offended at his over-reaction.
Word got out (it’s hard to explain away gunshots in a small town) and the sheriff rounded us up next day and scolded us. We both realized he was obligated to do so, but neither he nor we took it too seriously. However, he also paid the gardener a visit and told him that if he ever shot at kids again, he’d be locked up.
Today the gardener would have an AR15 and someone might be dead – and he would be applauded for ‘standing his ground’. Today’s cop would deal with us heavy-handedly – maybe tasers for white kids and 9mm for the hispanics.
I and most of my generation who grew up outside the ‘big city’ used guns with some frequency, in my case regularly after age seven. We also played ‘cowboys-and-indians’ or ‘cops-and-robbers’ as soon as we learned to point a finger and say “Pow! Gotcha!” (and argue “Gotcha first!”). Today, guns are not recognized as simply a tool – they have significance beyond that of a pair of pliers or a hammer.
Kinda gives new new meaning to the term ‘Power Tool’.
There are those who blame the violence of video games or TV/movies – and they have a point, albeit a misunderstood and rather shallow understanding. People are not being desensitized by video games and media violence per se. What is being lost is a connection to the real world in broader terms. People grow up in an environment where the link between the milk on their cereal and a cow; between their McNuggets and a live bird; their iPhone and the slave-labor it takes to produce it – all the connectivity has no reality in their mind. They know it in theory but not in fact.
Part of our environment consists of people and the the reality of our fellow humans is just as distorted and misrepresented as the rest of reality. X is black instead of ‘a kid’; Y is Mexican instead of a neighbor. When the presentations of the world have become the message, is it any wonder we do not see others as people unless they are part or our own particular narrowly-defined personal world? It’s me-and-mine versus Everyone/Everything else – and it’s the media which defines the nature of the Not-Me. And it does so for marketing reasons – the resulting disconnect is just an unfortunate side effect. It’s an unintended consequence but one which has been capitalized on politically. If Madison Avenue can sell soap, why not a presidency? And the mechanism is the same – sever peoples’ connection to reality and they will accept whatever you tell them is real.
The motto of Faux Noose.
I sometimes play an online game which involves avoiding or killing insects. Sometimes when I have completed a screen and could go to the next screen, I deliberately go about gratuitously killing the insects when I don’t really need to. Does this bespeak some submerged homicidal urges on my part? Perhaps – but the difference is that I’m zapping virtual objects with a keyboard and I recognize it’s different from being armed to the teeth, killing real, helpless people.
Pointy-finger-pistols are a threat.
Pictures are a threat.
Pictures of pointy-finger-pistols are a threat.
Everything is a threat.
Hey – what’s not to like?
It sells military hardware, makes the rich richer, keeps the politicians getting elected, distracts the hoi polloi and leaves them scared into control (or dead) and definitely not functioning in the real world where they might contest for power.
I suspect a lot of the protests in this country today are pointless because they are targeting a ‘virtual reality’ over which a ‘victory’ will be meaningless. The bread and circuses of the 21s century.
The last group of protesters who picked the right targets were the Wobblies, and we all know how that turned out.