In the 2006 film directed by Uwe Boll called “In the Name of the King” the good magician tells the evil magician that what he’s doing is madness, to which the latter replies: “This is not madness. It’s power.”
This sad recollection was provoked by the article “Our ‘Angry, Violent Young Men’ Problem” by Jim Geraghty (National Review, 29 April 2019), which he devotes to mass shootings, beginning with that occurred at Poway synagogue. The Poway shooter was, apparently, a “troubled” young man in spite of having more than satisfactory family background and all reasons to be happy as a lark.
Geraghty references in his article the causes which may bring about such a “spasm of horrific violence”. According to pertinent studies those causes may be quite varied (from seeking revenge for having been bullied to general dissatisfaction with life) since mass shooters have come from rich as well as poor families; from affluent or impoverished circumstances. Those studies have detected in them “anger, frustration, hostility, turmoil and violence”. The article ends on an inconclusive note:
A person who feels that he does not matter will take a twisted form of solace in the fact that after he has committed his terrible act of violence, everyone wanted to know what was going on inside his head. But we’re still haunted by the capacity of the human heart to embrace evil. We face a persistent struggle to get young men to resist the siren’s call of a spectacular, violent, infamous end.
The article mentions that one study found that almost 60 percent of mass shooters had either been diagnosed with a mental disorder or exhibited signs of serious mental illness before their attack. But that still leaves, the author admits, about 40 percent whose actions cannot be attributed, in full or in part, to mental illness. Furthermore, the vast majority of those with mental illness cannot be said to be violent –as the article also points out.
Evidently, no cause can be singled out as the reason behind mass shootings. It is rather a combination of causes, layers of agents, which in some cases remain imperceptible for a long time but eventually manifest themselves one way of another. Still, they must all come from the root, the very source.
It doesn’t take long for a visitor to the USA to notice that there is something wrong with the people there –there is general mental unbalance. Not that one can put one’s finger on it. It’s a feeling, a vibration, a sensation. Apparently, everything is all right but scratch the surface a little and it all comes out. One can hardly expect it to be noticed by the subjects themselves since the mentally unbalanced cannot become aware of mental disorders in one another. Only someone who comes from the outside is in a position to discover that nothing and nobody is as they seem to be.
The very foundation of what came to be called the USA is schizophrenic. While US presidents, especially Trump, indulge in talking about the “great American experiment” –meaning establishing a free, democratic and religious society, the origin of the US is purely mercantile and violent.
In Renaissance England, wealthy merchants were eager to find investment opportunities, so they established a number of companies to trade in various parts of the world. Each company was made up of investors, known as “adventurers”, who purchased shares of company stock. The Crown granted a charter to each company with a monopoly to explore, settle, or trade with a particular region of the world. Profits were shared among the investors according to the amount of stock that each owned. More than 6,300 Englishmen invested in joint-stock companies between 1585 and 1630, trading in Russia, Turkey, Africa, the East Indies, the Mediterranean, and North America.
The Mayflower and other ships which arrived at North-American shores, the Discovery, the Godspeed and the Susan Constant, did not carry pilgrims, as they are called in school textbooks, but adventurers bent on making money. In fact, it was The Company of Merchant Adventurers of London, a trading enterprise, founded in the City of London in the early 15th century which first floated the ships necessary for the venture to prosper. It then transformed into the London Company (also called the Virginia Company of London), a joint-stock company set up in 1606 by royal charter by King James I with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America. Thus the first permanent English settlement, the Jamestown Colony, located near present-day Williamsburg, Virginia, was a private venture, financed and organized by the Virginia Company of London, with Bartholomew Gosnold, one of the behind-the-scenes initiators; Edward-Maria Wingfield, a major investor; John Ratcliffe; John Martin; and captain John Smith, a former mercenary who had fought in the Netherlands and Hungary as the colony’s governing council. The only trust and hope those adventurers entertained was that of profit, and it is something that pervades the North American life to this very day. In fact, with the passage of time it has acquired cosmic dimensions.
The above should be remembered when these days president Trump, himself a great speculator in real estate business, devotes much of his time to “making America great again”, without ever mentioning the time when it was great in the first place. Was it when “America” was massacring native population in order to expand over the whole of the continent? Or was it when in 1609 the Company issued instruction to settlers to kidnap Native American children so as to educate them with English values and religion? Or was it when the Northern states were massacring the South which had just decided to secede? Or was it when “America” whipped up the war with Spain in 1898 after having blown up USS Maine in Havana Harbour in order to have a pretext? Or was it when the blacks were lynched or hunted like animals? Or was it when the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was enacted in 1964 after the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which never took place but which led to the “American” involvement in Vietnam? Or was it great when it lied to the whole world about Saddam’s Iraq having arms of mass destruction? Or is it great now, when the US is trying to draw Iran into war producing accusation of sabotage which nobody has seen?
Marion, Indiana, 1930
The USA is and has always been a business enterprise and the Trump administration is the perfect illustrarion of this fact. The first objective of a business undertaking is elimination of competitors –by hook or by crook. US banknotes carry the maxim “In God We Trust” but it only means “In This God We Trust”, the one we have written this on. Therefore Trump never tires of talking about how great the US economy is and how many billions the US is taking in –as he affirmed in his last interview with Fox News. No-one cares about what’s really going on in the US society. Trump should be told that in this world one often gets what one wishes for but nothing else. And this “nothing else” is at the root of many evils, one of them being mass shootings, but let us repeat once again –they are not the disease. They are a symptom.
Trump’s “America” wallows in self-aggrandizement, self-assertiveness, self-centredness, self-sufficiency, self-esteem and any other self of this sort one can think of. On the other plate of the balance we have double standards and the inordinate drive to be successful, defined as economic, or materialistic, success, combined with arms of mass destruction. The belief that the US is NUMBER ONE, trumpeted far and wide by the authorities, the mass media and educational system, mixed with the suspicion that individually and by any standards one is far from being a normal person, let alone number one, may bring about explosive results in certain cases. In others, it will result in domestic abuse, alcoholism or drug addiction.
The general schizophrenia is further reflected in the obsessive accusation of dark forces, China for example, threatening the security or interests of the USA, when everybody knows that China has one foreign military base and the US has eight hundred, and that the only interest Washington has is the security of Israel. In the field of double standards, the latest example of schizophrenia is the anti-China mainstream media-run campaign which maintains that the Chinese province of Xinjiang has been turned into a police state in which all movements of its inhabitants are followed by means of sophisticated technology, the situation resulting in a massive abuse of human rights. At the same time Georgetown researchers are warning US citizens about a complex real-time face surveillance system that’s about to become an “imminent reality” for millions across the country. The “America Under Watch” report is a warning that authorities in select US cities may soon be able to pick you out from a crowd, identify you, and trace your movements via a secret network of cameras constantly capturing images of your face. The report claims both Detroit and Chicago purchased software from a South Carolina company, DataWorks Plus, that gives police the ability to scan live video from cameras located at businesses, health clinics, schools, and apartment buildings. Although both cities say they are not currently using the technology it is rather obvious that face surveillance is imminent reality, according to reports.
In the meantime, the third installment of the hyper violent John Wick/Keanu Reeves movie franchise has taken the top spot at the North American box office. Apparently, the admiring audience, predominantly male, is growing exponentially for this series about a talented and highly creative assassin. It is due to the success and appeal of violence and hitman aura that Keanu Reeves is branching out into the world of fashion as the Face of Saint Laurent’s autumn menswear campaign. This latest venture was announced by the brand’s creative director Anthony Vaccarello in a series of images of the actor wearing the label’s signature clothing. Crime sells, evidently.
No dignity? Just money?
Can the psychology of a young adult, brainwashed and constantly exposed to double standards, remain unaffected by lack of values other than materialism, consumerism and violence? If there is no other life, or if it is as vague and uncertain as that transmitted by Christianity, why not live as fast as possible? In this way one can at least vent one’s unbalance, and violence appears to an untrained, uncultivated and unreflective mind to be the easiest and most preferable choice, if not the most attractive.
(18) Swell not your cheek at men in pride. Nor walk in insolence through the earth for Allah loves not any arrogant boaster.
Qur-an 31 – Luqman