|"Pardon me, sir, but I was made to believe there|
would be pipe bombs."
This year was the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Even with my high confidence in Northern Ireland, it occurred to me that, if anyone wanted to make a statement, this would be a good time to do it. I was staying in an apartment in City Centre. It struck me as marginally precarious, but not enough so to prevent me from doing it. At the end of the day, the Belfast I knew was not one I could bring myself to be afraid of.
While there, I talked to young people about what it's like living in post-Troubles Northern Ireland, under the stigma of a war-torn country. My friend Linda told me she has a hard time convincing her uni friends from England to come visit her. They think they're going to get blown up, like every day people are just roaming the streets looking for someone to bomb or shoot or stab. That was the atmosphere I was warned of as I embarked upon my first excursions to Northern Ireland.
Last Thursday, my school, Cal State Fullerton, was on lockdown for seven hours while a SWAT team searched the premises for an armed robber. The next day, Sandy Hook. The day after that, a lockdown at Fashion Island after a man fired off 50 rounds in the parking lot. And among my first thoughts, why didn't I apply to get my PhD at Queen's? Why didn't I try to move to Belfast? The place that Americans and Brits are so afraid of was my first idea for refuge.
|"You mean I have to wait till morning for my free taco?|
SAN FRANCISCO WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS!"
At least in Northern Ireland, they came up with a reason to kill each other--which is not say that, by any stretch of the imagination, the atrocities committed by sectarian terrorists in Northern Ireland were actually justified. But here, we don't even need an excuse. We do it for sport. Because we can. Because we feel bad about ourselves. Because we're mad at someone else. Because it makes us feel safe to have the power to end a life.
|Little known fact: God is|
basically a vampire. He
can't come in unless you
invite him. Also, he hates
I'm getting pretty sick of the narrative that it's unpatriotic to question our exceptionalism, or that it's unpatriotic to consider that maybe the 2nd amendment wasn't drafted with high-powered assault rifles in mind, or that we have a huge violence problem around here and it's neither God nor Grand Theft Auto that's causing it. I'm sick of the threats of unfriending on facebook if my opinion on how to prevent such a horrific tragedy reads to you as if I'm going to storm into your house and forcibly take your guns from you (with my bare hands, apparently, 'cause we know I'm not gonna be the one armed). If avoiding any form of critical thinking pertaining to your ideologies is more important to you than the relationships you have built in your life, then by all means, delete me. It's unfortunate to see you go, but then, I've probably hidden you from my newsfeed already anyway.
|So, y'know, Monday in America.|
I heard on the radio earlier a host responding to someone's question about what happened to the days of Andy Griffith and Mayberry and all that. The host's response was that you can't put the toothpaste back in the bottle. Those days are gone. But those days never existed. Even as Mayberry flooded American living rooms with a false sense that nice, white communities full of nuclear families with perfectly manicured lawns worried over nothing more dire than whether the fish were biting in the local watering hole, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith were murdering the Clutter family in Kansas. And John List was becoming increasingly paranoid about his finances and the salvation of his family before shooting them all and starting a new life. And Charles Whitman was shooting 45 people, killing 13, from a tower on the UT Austin campus. And John Norman Collins was embarking on a murder spree throughout Michigan. Mayberry was never any more real than Mystic Falls or Sunnydale.
|Incidentally, I'm growing|
a gun plant in my backyard
as we speak. The rain is doing
wonders for my .38s.