In the last few days I have mostly avoided any news about the shooting in Aurora at the opening night of The Dark Knight Rises (which is a fantastic movie). I do this every time some event like this occurs, for instance the shooting at Rep. Giffords and her audience. I find that it is an invariable rule of shocking news that the initial few days of reporting is all wrong. For instance, the initial report saying James Holmes was a Tea Party member was so wrong it bordered fraudulence, it was as if the ‘newsmen’ sifted through all the many, many men by that name, and picked the one whose political affiliations fit the story they wanted to tell: a story of a right-wing mass shooting. (On an interesting side note, has anyone looked to see if there were audience members who had concealed carry permits and were not carrying due to the theater’s rules?)
Anyway, Now that some time has passed I read some of the stories. I find it likely that now they have the right James Holmes, especially considering this J.H.’s apartment was booby trapped in an attempt to kill police entering… etc. What I came to find in all the writing about this, however, is that almost every article I read about the incident asks who to blame. Either that or they are assigning blame.
The usual suspects are blaming America’s liberty and the rights American citizens have to self-defense. These make a case, stupid as it is in light of the fact that no one was permitted to carry their self-defense weapons at this location, (a fact I suspect was not lost on the shooter) that the easy access to firearms is what makes Americans go on shooting rampages, as if crime and evil are relegated to those who touch firearms. History, however, and even recent history, makes this seem a strange argument.
Another set, these being people I usually agree with, seem to want to lay some blame on violent movies and video games. And this I find as reckless and wrong as blaming guns. While there are many movies that encourage their audience to participate in evil, rather than be horrified at it, still, the history of mankind if full of many evils, and many people so vile that they make this shooter almost benign.
So, I wanted to officially lay the blame where it actually belongs. Many people act as if this is a difficult, arcane sort of alchemy, mixing components of society, ‘pressures’ and so forth. These hucksters will even go so far as to defend the 9-11 terrorists/ mass murderers as if societal pressures forced them to behave a certain way. (See this related Klavan on the Culture)
Here is where the blame belongs:
(Picture from Breitbart News)
I know many enlightened people will think I am over simplistic, but everyone is responsible for their own sins. And so, the only one I am comfortable laying the blame on is the man who actually did the murder. I do not care to try to analyze what he was thinking, I have no desire to inspect the vile recesses of his soul for ‘explanations’ because I already know what I will find if I were to inspect anyone’s soul: evil. Evil can be restrained by society, it can be restrained by the fear of the law, and it can be restrained by the fear of God. However, some people can only be restrained by the idea that their victims might shoot back. That is why I am unsurprised that this particular theater which self-righteously deprives its patrons of their right to be able to fight back, was chosen. I image every theater in the Colorado was packed for the midnight showing, but when criminals decide to try to kill a bunch of people, they almost invariably pick places where those people are required by law, to be unarmed.
So, I put the entire blame for murder, attempted murder, and all the evil committed by this man, all on him. Sin and Evil are lonely and self-absorbed things. Society does not encourage evil by being a free society where citizens have the right to buy whatever weapons they want or go to whatever movie they want. Society encourages evil when loud influential people demand that the blame for evil be shared around, and that we are supposed to try and understand the hypothetically tortured soul that did the evil rather than feel empathy for, and righteous anger on behalf of, the really tortured, murdered and terrorized victims. Society encourages evil when it is unwilling to call evil what it is, and demands that we pay more notice and give more sympathy to the murderer than the murdered.
As always, Victor Davis Hanson is golden: The Demons of the Modern Rampage Killer