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View Diary: My neighbor is yesterday's school shooter (134 comments)

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  •  We need to be more realistic about humans (6+ / 0-)

    and what we are all capable of. But first of all, terrific writing, made especially poignant after your previous two pieces (perhaps more?) have painted such a rich picture of your neighborhood.

    I just finished watching several films at the Santa Barbara festival. Nazis were the topic of more than one. That particular outburst of madness is generally treated as something particular to Germany at that time rather than as a manifestation of the brain we all share, a manifestation which lies in potential the world over.

    Last year, my friend of over thirty years walked into the friendly little co-op where he worked and shot his manager dead. The entire community is still trying to come to grips with it. Now I never walk past the wine section--his specialty--without having an inclination to go over and have a chat with the guy who was funny, bright and humane. I still cannot think of him as the man who widowed a wife a left a couple of kids father-less. It simply does not compute. I tell myself that it is the human brain but, frankly, it is simply too frightening to go around with full awareness of the strong irrational and violent tendencies of homo sapiens.

    I care about this point, because reluctance to acknowledge just how bad humans can behave provides a lot of cover for the worst actors on the national stage. Can we imagine Americans taking pleasure in torturing others? Can we imagine high government officials ordering drone attacks from irrational, obscene motives? Are we capable of thinking of our own government as a force for evil in this world? These things do matter.

    The behavior of your neighbor should not surprise us. In some ways, it's simply a matter of statistics--this behavior does arise. Of course, the behavior is made more likely by circumstance, which is one of the reasons we all must continue our work to create a humane, livable, functioning society.

    I'm so glad no one, particularly the diarist, was injured.

    The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress. - Bacevich

    by geomoo on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 08:49:08 AM PST

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