Guest post: They can kill; we can live

Originally a comment by AJ Milne on In an area specially set aside for wheelchair users.

Disgusting, sure. Maybe the apex of it, in all of this, and that, that’s saying something. But then, if you’re already standing there, with a rifle, shooting into a crowd of unarmed, terrified, screaming people, who can only run away and are as likely to hurt each other in their panic as escape, I don’t imagine it’s much more of a leap to shoot at someone who can’t even run.

And I feel a little sick even having had to imagine that. This is no exaggeration.

I guess you have to think about the dehumanization that has preceded this. Read that rhetoric about how this is a city of the monstrous and the damned. A satanic other. And so they can imagine themselves shooting alien horrors, things that turned evil and rebellious against their divine and righteous authority and which must therefore be stopped. We see people in wheelchairs, young people at a concert who will die and be mourned in aching agony for months and years and decades. They see alien warthogs.

The lesson in this? I say: don’t become that. Don’t, for all that it’s the natural and perfectly understandable rage of the moment, start seeingthem that way. Those fucking idiots with guns and suicide vests are just pawns in this, too, drawn in and poisoned by alienation and idiot delusions of heavenly victories and ever more fantastic, phantasmagoric rhetoric, moonbeams and rainbows and flying horses. They don’t get virgins after the spree killings they attempt to dignify as political statements. They die and rot. And to the extent they ever even get their earthly kingdom, so far as they have, so far as they ever will, for most of them, it will be hell on earth. Those ugly old closed hierarchies generally were, for almost everyone, mostly even when youare damned lucky at where you land in the pyramid.

The world is screaming for blood, now, naturally enough, but I think if you want to really answer this thing right, you mourn, you square your shoulders, and you go on–you go right on trying to make a world people want to live in. Sympathy for all who have been injured, all who will miss the dead, all who were terrified, all who will wake up in the middle of the night, shaking, for years. But no again to all this panicked clampdown on security and let’s become ever more police states, because some ugly old should-be dead letter philosophies have found this dangerous traction in war and chaos and yawning inequities. You want to frustrate the fucking assholes cheering this on, that’s how you do so. You say: right. So they can kill. We can live.

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