DO ME THE HONOR

Posted in Rants on November 6th, 2017 by Ed

It is impossible to see the diametrically opposed reactions to the terrorist incident in New York (8 killed, perpetrator from Uzbekistan) and the one in Texas on Sunday (26 killed, good ol' Angry White Guy perpetrator) as anything other than thinly veiled blood-and-soil nationalism. There is no other way to interpret being outraged at the idea of an Other killing Americans but willing to shrug off Americans killing other Americans.

One idea that always fascinated me – and almost led me to grad school for psychology, until I realized modern psychology is all weird fMRI shit that is inadvertently feeding the next wave of invasive universal surveillance (just wait until the TSA is scanning for Anger in 20 years once the technology improves) – is the lack of logic behind fears. I've always been terrified of two things: spiders and bridges. Even as a kid I was able to recognize how little sense it made to be afraid of those things.

My odds of having my life negatively impacted by a spider are so small that they can't even be measured (especially in the Midwest). Fewer people have been killed or injured by a bridge than by lightning strikes. The old cartoon scenario of a piano falling from the sky and landing on me is vastly more likely than either scenario.

But we all know from personal experience that logic is a poor tool against someone's fears. You can explain how statistically safe air travel is to a person who is afraid of flying and it is highly unlikely to make a dent in their irrational fear. Most fear is at least somewhat irrational, because we base it on our perceptions more than our experience. We recoil from things that are threatening, but how do we learn what is a threat? We combine anecdotal evidence with second-hand information of dubious reliability.

If you're afraid of being killed by a random act of violence in the modern United States – which, of course, you should not be, since it is low on the list of things that are going to Get You – it is difficult to wrap my mind around any kind of logic that would justify subdividing it into Foreign and Not Foreign for the purposes of determining the appropriate reaction to it. Right now there are millions of people walking around this country afraid that a brown non-citizen named Mohammed is going to drive a truck over them but relatively unconcerned that a white guy named Chad is going to shoot them with guns that are ridiculously easy for him to acquire.

Worse, people justify this with the fantasy that while there is no way to stop Mohammed other than to adopt Festung America border policies, Chad can be stopped if we all pack heat and shoot back. We hear this message explicitly from people in positions of authority. Don't worry about Chad – just shoot back.

Don't worry about the neighbor or the co-worker with 75 guns. That is not a threat. That can never hurt you. Focus on the real threat, which is immigrants and Strapping Black Bucks and Thugs and MS-13 and basically anyone with a darker complexion than Mike Pence or a Funny Accent or a different church.

Isn't it better to die at the hand of Our Kind than to die at the hand of the Infidel? Damn right it is. Don't fear death. Death isn't scary. Living to see the pollution of our blood and sacred soil…now THAT'S nightmare fuel.