CULTURE OF LIFE

Posted in Quick Hits on May 14th, 2014 by Ed

(Editor's note: It's finals week, the Stanley Cup playoffs, and right before I leave the country for eight days on vacation. Please forgive the brevity of this and the previous post. I'll be back to having nothing better to do soon enough, don't you worry.)

I'm glad that other people are starting to talk about the Fox News crowd's legitimately disturbing habit of killer worship. Sean Hannity's obsession with convicted murderers who kill the "right" people is enough to wonder if a chat with a court-appointed psychiatrist is in order.

It may be the case that providing property owners certain proportional latitude in defending their possessions is an unhappy legal necessity. It is also the case that elevating property owners who do take advantage of those legal provisions to the status of folk hero and celebrity is a direct and dangerous promotion of a culture of death, a worldview in which murderous bravado is favored over a "bleeding heart" — that is, sympathy for other people. That a category of celebrity is swiftly developing around property owners who, acting on some application or misapplication of law, end human life is as morbid a symptom as any, and suggests a barely veiled malice brewing in the shadows of American conservatism. If Sean Hannity and his colleagues have any real interest in the promotion of an authentic culture of life, they'll abandon this bizarre obsession with legal latitude for killing, which has that distinct flavor of savoring a twisted loophole. Until then, they will remain responsible for the role models they promote to their viewership, and the deathly culture they create.

The extreme popularity of Hannity and his ilk reflects, of course, the fact that large numbers of Americans – say, the kind who wait in line to get George Zimmerman's autograph – subscribe to the same mentality. They don't see gun ownership as a potential means of "protecting their family" in some worst case scenario that they hope, pray, and endeavor to avoid. They really, really hope the opportunity to shoot someone arises. Or, as the recent Hannity Hero shows, they manufacture the opportunity when it doesn't arise quickly enough.

I live in a legitimately unsafe neighborhood. The most recent shooting two weeks ago happened about 100 feet from my front door. Most of the houses in the neighborhood have been burglarized at some point in the last decade. In two years I've thought perhaps once or twice about the prospect of someone breaking in. I lock the doors and sleep with my phone so I could call 9-1-1 if necessary. Other than that, it doesn't really cross my mind. Like a normal person, I don't spend a lot of time talking or thinking about people committing crimes against me even though statistically I should be more concerned about it than some gun-stroking old white guy who lives in Pigs Knuckle County or some suburb with nonexistent crime.

The first time someone says they need to be armed to protect their family I think, that's poor logic (statistics show that a gun in the home is far more likely to end up being used against someone you know than a home invader) but a sensible enough assumption. The next fifty times they bring it up I think, gee, you seem to think about this happening an awful lot. It suggests that either one is paranoid and terrified of the world in general or…kind of looking forward to being able to shoot at another human being. The more you expect something to happen, the more quickly you're bound to jump to the conclusion that it is happening.

These are the people I envision when I listen to media personalities hero-worshiping the Castle Defender archetype. Such people are heroes only to people who really look forward to being able to kill someone without consequences but lack the balls to join the Army.