The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A "perfect storm" developed in his mind, perhaps

The shooting at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie in Aurora, Co. will eventually be called the "Batman Massacre" or something similar. Or maybe the "Aurora Atrocity". We have a tendency to label these terrible events with some catchy name. The killings in San Ysidro (just south of San Diego, just north of the Mexican border) at a fast food restaurant in 1984 is known as the "MacDonald's Massacre," for example.

I think it's how we cope with something unimaginable.

As I was reading a story about it, the usual lines popped up. "He was a loner",  he "didn't stand out", "smart", "quiet", etc. In this case, from all reports, the perpetrator was brilliant. Well, at least before he chose to do this incredibly stupid and horrific thing. You can't be stupid and study neuroscience, at least not successfully.

Someone remarked, in one story about this, that maybe he studied neuroscience because he had some inkling about himself:
"It could be he was interested in that because he knows there's something different in him," she [Mary Muscari, a criminology professor at Regis University in Denver] said. [link]

I would think Professor Muscari is right. But I think she is also a bit too simplistic about it. He is, we now know, quite different than the rest of us. But he has always been. And he always knew it. He's smart, and he was likely always smarter than most people he came in contact with. He probably knew from his earliest days that he was "different" than his peers and felt "apart" from others. I would venture that he even thought he was different than his peers in the advanced classes he likely took growing up. He was likely told he was different from his earliest years, he was smart enough to see it as he grew up, and he was smart enough to keep the real difference (his dark side) hidden. Smart people are different but they are not all harboring feelings that would lead to attempting a massacre.

Even moderately smart people feel different from time to time. Just as we all do. I would say stupid people feel different from their peers. We are all trapped inside our skulls.  We can only know, for sure, our own thoughts. But only an incredibly few (thankfully) explode like this guy did.

Even as he reveals more about himself, through his own writings and comments, we'll never likely understand why he decided it would be a good idea to go on a murderous rampage. He did decide that, you know. He planned it, it is becoming clear now, for months at least. Maybe for years. And we'll never really understand why.

There will be books about it, however, by learned people who study such things (like Professor Muscari) and it will be months (for most of us) and years (for those with personal connections to it) before it dies down and becomes just another of those inexplicable incidents.

And we still won't know what happened in his mind that made it possible for him to create that horror.

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