Wow, has it really been over a year since we posted here? I guess it has.... It's amazing how life gets in the way of blogging.
But then, something happens that forces a person to have these things called "ideas" and "thoughts", many of which are or could be relevant for blogging. Such is the recent mass-killing events in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Other bloggers have posted up their input, and I don't care to rehash their well-reasoned thoughts. Miguel and J.Kb over at Gun Free Zone have made several observations, and they're pretty astute guys.
To sum up: Yes, they were white males (does that even matter to anyone other than professional race-baiters?). Yes, they bought their guns legally, and passed background checks. Yes, they were loners that maybe could have benefited from a social intervention before these events. Yes, they were hate-filled individuals taking out their grievances against an innocent public. No, they were not NRA members, and probably did not vote for Donald Trump. Heck, the El Paso shooter's "manifesto" seems to take Democrats and Republicans both to task equally (and as Miguel points out, he accurately predicted the media's response to his actions).
And it's safe to assume none of the "gun control" proposals we'll see in the upcoming days would have prevented either tragedy.
So instead, in this post and the next (possibly more), I am going to focus on two, very specific, thoughts I've had recently, directly or indirectly related to both events. Some of these are purely mine, and some are born of conversations my lovely wife, Mrs. Archer, and I have had in the aftermath.
For this post, I'm going to discuss the escalating political rhetoric, and some ways that feeds events like these.
It's long been noted that for the Left, political violence is like a knob; at the low end it consists of angry speech, and as it turns "up" progresses to yelling, screaming profanity, protests (and blocking opposing protests), riots, physical violence against individuals (case in point: the assault and beating of Portland independent journalist Andy Ngo), physical violence against opposing groups, and (historically) all the way to genocide of scapegoated populations.
For the Right, political violence is a switch, with just two settings: "Vote" and "Shoot F@#$ing Everybody"*. The Right believes in the "four boxes" — the soapbox, the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box — and emphasizes they should be exercised in that order.
For civil society to be maintained, cooler heads must prevail. However, the hotheads (mostly but not entirely from the Left) are actively preventing cooler heads from being heard. That "slow simmer" on the Left's knob could look like some to be a "cold civil war", and while I don't believe either of the recent mass-killers hails from the political Right — at best, they appear to be anarchist or socialist, not really Left, but not Right, either — with all the violent speech flying, it's really no surprise that some individuals feel sufficiently threatened or outraged to take the "cold civil war" and decide it's time to go "hot".
Note that this is NOT IN ANY WAY offered as an attempt to excuse their actions, or the murder of (last I heard) 34 people by two @$$holes with chips on their shoulders. But put in context, it might explain a few things — namely, how one person might feel their actions, no matter how heinous, are justified in their own minds.
Stay safe out there, everybody.
[Edit: Part Two.]
* - I disagree with that label, but I didn't make it up; I'm just borrowing the concept.