Saturday, April 01, 2006


Charles Mudede, I think, doesn't quite 'get it'.

This is the crux of an op-ed by a mother, Danette M. Will, of a young man who survived the Capitol Hill shooting:

I’m not angry at the things everyone is talking about, though. I’m not angry at the guns; the guns did not shoot at my son and kill his friends. I’m not angry at the after-hours parties, because billions of people of all ages have survived them. I’m not angry at the raves, drugs, alcohol, teenage rebellion, knives, bats, cars, etc., etc., etc.

I’m angry with Kyle Huff. Kyle Huff decided he wanted to end my son’s life. Kyle Huff decided to kill all of those kids. Not his arsenal, not his family, not alcohol, not drugs. Not anything or anyone except Kyle Huff. I’m angry with everyone who is trying to make themselves feel better about this by blaming anything or anyone except the person responsible.

The one thing I hate about American ideology, or basic American thinking, is that it places way too much emphasis on the individual. Only the one (instead of the many) is seen as largely (if not entirely) responsible not just for their crimes but also their standards of living. This Ideology pictures America, the land of opportunity, in this way: Everyone gets set, gets ready on the mark of the same white line and, at the sound of the bang, they are off to their careers. (I use “career” in both the old and modern sense of the word.) And so it is up to you—and you alone—to make it or break it. It is this kind of thinking that is responsible for the embarrassing lack of mental institutions, proper welfare services, a sensible safety net for all the citizens of the richest fucking country on the planet. Huff was less an individual and more a social being. He was a composite of others and not an isolated soul whose thoughts, emotions, drives were derived from nowhere else but himself. If the society is emphasized then society can change; if the individual is blamed than nothing happens to the power structures that govern our coexistence.

The problem is that society is a concept, an abstraction. It can't change; there isn't anything TO change. More than three people can't agree on where to go for lunch - Charles wants a society of millions of people to just agree to stuff and stop being mean? Good luck with that.

Update: Blockquote corrected to include all of Ms. Will's comments.
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