Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fuck the Dead Children

The day after some psychotic asshole offed a bunch of children, the mainstream press praised him for something completely unrelated and didn't even mention the meaningless deaths of the kiddies. But that's typical coverage of Barack Obama's foreign policy. 

(2,500 and counting for innocent civilians--men, women and children--murdered by his drone strikes in countries other than the U.S.) 

What I found more curious was the headline of my local paper after the shit went down in Newtown, Connecticut: "Looking for Answers" above a large picture of the survivors and parents.  

When I heard of the massacre on the radio the day it occurred, I knew something was wrong, very wrong, with my immediate emotional response, which wasn't shock, but a total lack of surprise and despair over the following thought: Great, how long is it going to take the do-gooders to exploit the deaths of the kids to push for more "gun control" or any number of conceivable laws to control society at large, like, say, "hate" speech laws on the internet? 

What gnawed at my conscience in a creepy, Freudian kind of way was the plausibility--the psychological reality--that I was just as bad as the do-gooders. That is, I almost immediately removed myself from the gut-wrenching reality of the event, and thus politicized the event myself. Without any help at all from the shrills of gun prohibitionists, I exploited the children's terror in my own mind.  

And a final wave of self-disgust washed over me when I read the headline in my local paper the next day: "Searching for Answers." But the fact is this: there are no answers. 

That's an uncomfortable claim. Perhaps unbearable. But true. 

I was a junior in high school when Columbine ripped through our laughter while celebrating 4/20 in 1999. What was at first a fun day of skipping class flashed into horror when my high school girlfriend and I turned on the TV after she smoked a bowl in my backyard. We wondered whether or not this was an isolated incident in Colorado or if other teenage trench-coat sociopaths were roaming our high school and other high schools across America in a mass stunt of slaughter. And we were both content, much more than usual, with our absence from school. 

It was all too real for us. And not once did I consider what the "cause" was. There was no cause. There was only merciless, unrepentant murder of kids our age in a school just like ours in a state not too far away. When we remove ourselves from the horror of reality and begin to politicize, to theorize and explain away the blood-stained walls or screams of terror before the final blast of silence, we lose ourselves to bad faith. We pretend to care so very, very much and thus only prove how very much we don't give a shit. 

More gun control could not have prevented this anymore than knife control could have prevented the murder of 8 people in China the same day. Guns aren't the problem or the answer. Neither is the "decline of traditional American values". Or heavy metal music (Marilyn Manson and Ozzy Osborn respectively). Or violent movies. Or the internet. Or pornography. Or facebook. Or illicit narcotics. Or compulsory state education. Or the police state. Or FDA-approved pharmaceuticals. Or cigaretts and alcohol. Or the War on Terror. Or our "polarizing dialogue as a nation". Or (place your favorite worldly evil here:_____________). 

The massacre was too real to be explained away. This is us. This is humanity. We've done worse, much worse. Take it or leave it. 

If you want an "answer," close your eyes, take a deep breath, and reflect on the last thoughts you would have as a five-year-old with a gun pointed at your head the moment before the trigger is squeezed.  Would you hear the discharge? 

Or day dream your own nightmare of being in their scenario, totally helpless, without any means of escape. Like a child, use your imagination for once, and imagine what it was like really being there. 

That is your answer. Anything more than that is a mere abstraction. And here the gun prohibitionists and their libertarian enemies (myself included), though pretending to disagree, are basically saying the same thing by abstracting the event into ideas and political arguments. And this is what they're saying: Fuck the Dead Children. 

We are selling our souls to the devil of certainty when certainty of anything in these matters is only, at best, a self-gratifying illusion. And the ghosts of the children will have their revenge as they haunt our soulless, positively certain selves with our dogmas of what the "answer" is to their deaths.  

Maybe the ghosts don't want their deaths to be justified with a final, absolute "cause".  Perhaps they want and need to hang in limbo for a while. It would be polite of us to allow them that courtesy. 

As our national "conversation" about gun control continues to dominate the airwaves, soon the children themselves will be forgotten, as abstractions usually are, like the analytical steps taken in logic to complete a work of 14th century metaphysics. 

And sooner yet, our post-modern America, which constantly fails to decipher fact from fiction, truth from falsity, reality from television and radio, will repeat this error in judgement when it attempts to redeem their deaths by confusing their "answers" with redemption. The problem is, there can be no redemption. Dead is dead. And the abstraction of death (and life) always leads to false certainties about the blood spilled in existence precisely by ignoring it.   

Existence is harder to face than any of us realize. We want an escape from reality and its meaninglessness. Its futile pains in life and rotting corpses in death.

It's absurd. And while shock, anguish or confusion might be  authentic responses to human life and its final destination, we should remember that searching for an "answer" certainly is not an authentic answer to our perpetual uncertainty.

We can't understand the absurdity of Newtown, Connecticut anymore than we can understand the Holocaust, genocide or why we're sitting here on this stupid rock in the first place. 

Just to die. 

But we can have a laugh as well as a tear. It's never too soon to do so.  When my mom died, I used to laugh and cry at the same time in spontaneous fits of crazed mania. Tears and laughter usually complement each other as well as coffee and cigarettes.

My mom died of a drug-overdose. And when she first kicked the bucket, people always wanted to know what the cause was. What happened? How could this happen? Who's responsible? Who's to blame? Some wanted to know if I planned on suing the doctors who prescribed her the medicines. As if to imply that I could do something to redeem her death or prevent another person from losing her life. But there is no redemption. For anyone's death. Such attempts at grasping a final understanding of something too slippery to be grasped display a unique kind of will to elude reality. 

So, please don't try to wash away the absurdity of the children's violent deaths with rationalizations of "why it happened" or how the US nation-state can prevent "another Newtown" by banning whatever the Great Satan might be. There is no God or Satan here to blame. There is no why. 

There is only us. There is only human existence. We have life and death, each of which can impel sublime heights in laughter or immeasurable depths in sorrow.  

Hopefully we can laugh again soon and say something like "fuck the children" when we should say it--as a joke--rather than as an attempt to evade the the harsh, painful brush strokes that death paints onto the canvases of our lives.  

 The sooner we laugh, not in disregard to the terror of death by rationalizing its "cause" to a new Quinten Tarantino flick, but by staring it right in the eyes, confronting its gruesome, shocking face, the better. 

After all, death is absurd. It's funny. And it's never too soon to laugh. So, with that, I say, fuck the children.    


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