From: "Kim McCann" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: <email@example.com> Subject: Re: virus: going postal before you get a job Date sent: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 19:57:42 -0700 Send reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
> I've been lurking in the background for a while listening to the discussions
> here and found most of them somewhat interesting. This particular item
> however has caught my interest more or less because it has been forced down
> my throat for the last few days. Perhpas it could be because I suppose you
> could call me "part of the gothic subculture", albeit I am much older than
> these kids (by about 15 years) and have been "involved" in the subculture
> since 1982. I have a few comments and a qestion or two.
> > That's almost certainly true, I doubt each school yard killer came
> > up with the idea independently of the others.
> I wouldn't doubt that at all in the absence of any evidence to the contrary.
> I suppose that I don't think it to be particularilt responsible to
> generalize about the origin's of an idea without having a clear precursor
> availible for study. I must admit that I have some difficulty in accepting
> that they all "caught" a murderous impluse from some toxic meme. If so, the
> meme would already have disposed of most of its carriers as it is evidently
> highly auto toxic.
> > My local paper had a front page article that blamed gothic culture
> > in general, and ultimately Dungeons and Dragons. Now there's a
> > stupid meme that just won't die.
> I agree. The usual argument that proponents of such ridiculous assertions
> is that such and such a percentage of x type of criminal played D&D or
> listened to such and such a band.... That argument can also be applied to
> almost anything. For example - do you know that 100% of our nations prison
> inmates are chronic air breathers? Don't you think breathing air leads to
> violent offences - shouldn't it be banned. The idea is patently absurd to
> anyone who responsibly studies statistcal methods.
> All the schoolyard Rambos so far have been white males attending
> suburban or rural schools, and all have been outcast, persecuted
> and picked upon, for being bright, nonathletic or otherwise different.
> I would check on this fact before making a sweeping generalization like
> this. It is not in fact correct. The number of mass slayings in the past
> 15 years has been predominantly carreid out in inner city schools by ethnic
> youth living in ghetto conditions. The difficult conditions of ghetto life
> have demonstratively hight co-respondence with violence than being a white
> kid from suburbia.
I _did_ check it out. Of the eight mass slayings in the pasttwo years, ALL of them share the attributes I listed above. Reality has a funny way of shattering our culturally colored preconceptions like that; it doesn't care what the "conventional wisdom" about black gang members and inner city schools is, it just happens as it does, anyway.
> > In the past, jocks and bullies could get away with this kind of
> > behavior, but with the internet providing access to knowledge of
> > how to build weapons and opportunities to illicitly purchase them,
> The Internet does not do these things. In fact it does nothing but allow
> comuters to communicate with each other. It can however provide a medium
> where like minded individuals can communicate ideas via web-sites,
> discussion groups like this one, etc...
> The Internet cannot arm you. That takes a mind, hands, and a brain. By the
> way, I found four copies of the anarchists cookbook at my local library
> during a research project this last September. It took twelve minutes. I
> couldn't find a copy online, and I looked actively for four hours....
> Hmmmmm.......... Again, actually looking this stuff up is highly
I went to Yahoo, typed in Anarchist's Cookbook, pressed Search, and Voila! multiple copies for sale, $30.00 each! In 5 seconds! If ya couldn't do that in 4 hours, methinks yer surfing skills need work...
> and with violent media, from movies to television to gaming, not
> only inuring and desensitizing youth to the horror of violence, but
> also training them in paramilitary assault strategies, this is no
> longer possible, nor can the information access rabbit be stuffed
> back into the hat.
> Really, you learned how to be a commando from TV? I wish I had been
> watching those shows....
Rambo I, II & III, Predator I & II, Universal Soldier, Commando, Sniper, Navy SEALS, the list goes on and on and on...
> I am only joking, but I think that you can see my
> point. Every study attempting to link exposure to TV violence to realy
> world violence has failed to demonstrait a clear co-respondence. In fact
> there is some vauge evidence to suggest that TV and Media violence may be
> associaed with though disorders such as schitzophrenia, but that evidence is
> still largely anecdotal. The Media violence causing real violence myth is
> another meme passed along because it has an emotioanl truth to it, but not
> because it has factual truth. Again, it is worth looking this stuff up.
I have a hard time believing that watching 15,000 murders doesn't reduce my tendency to flinch for the 15,001st. B.F. Skinner wasn't totally right, but he wasn't totally wrong, either; otherwise, what are commercials for?
> However I do agree that the emerging inforamtion society - for lack of a
> better term - has provided us with a new reinessance. The sheer volume of
> data and media that a citizen of North America is expected to devour each
> day has had a paradoxically liberating effect on the instinct to question
> authority, and it is no longer possible to "stuff it back into the hat".
> > Unlike Japan, the US is a relatively extroverted
> > and individualistic society.
> Ummm.... Been to Tokyo lately? The stereotype that you are using is a
> little dated. Tokyo reminds one of nothing so much as New York with more
> rain and fewer taxi's.... The global culture has been emerging, and all over
> the world people are becomming more homogenous. Look it up... Better yet -
> take a vacation to Japan. It is really cool, and the industrial gothic
> scene there is amazing.... Check out the Geiger bar especially.....
Kew, I'd love to, but those folks have already survived their schooldaze, haven't they?
> > Whereas in Japan the teased,
> > harassed and bedeviled outcasts and pariahs commit suicide, here
> > they cold-bloodedly plan and commit mass homicide upon their
> > tormenters.
> Where are you getting this stuff from?
An hourlong report on CNN on an epidemic of suicides in the Japanese public school system, circa 2 years or so ago. Suits were filed against schools and bullies, and laws were passed to deal with the problem.
>Japaneese people commit sucide for
> the same reason Americans do - depression, isolation, feelings of
> inadequacy, etc. The Japaneese have their mass murderers too... Anybody
> remember a littel incident involving a subway and some rather unpleasant gas
> a couple of years ago? If not, you can look it up....
I remember Aum Shinryu...it was an aberrational blip in that culture. With our plethora of militias and our surplus of Dahmers, Gacys, Bundys, McVeighs, etc., I think the statistics are pretty lopsided.
> > To minimize the continued burgeoning of this trend, a
> > policy must be set that harassment of any student by any other
> > must be reported, and a "zero tolerance" policy must be
> > implemented to deal with such harassment.
> This "trend" is not a reatction to typical schoolyard bullying which has
> been going on since the dawn of civilization. This "trend" isn't even a
> trend. To all apparent criminology reports on the phenomena of mass murder,
> there appears to be no connection between incidents, that when averaged over
> the size of the population that experiences such events (namely the global,
> or even the US population alone) amounts to almost nothing. I think that to
> be a trend, mass murderers would have to account for more than 0.000002
> percent of the population.
Eight gun and/or bomb mass murders by schoolchildren, in half the cases acting as a group, against their peers as a whole, in two years, when such a thing had not happened once in the three years prior, has to be a significant uptick. They're certainly outstripping post office employee rampages now.
> The disturbing trend that we have is the rampant replecement of emotional
> reaction for resoned discourse in a hypermediated culture. It is excellent
> to express youe hunches or inclinations to beleif about a subject, but it
> can be highly destructive, and counter productive to express hunches, and
> third party ideas as fact without evidence or at least experience. If we
> are to understand how memetics work, we need to become resopnsible for our
> own tendancy to pass them on. Know your own self. I'm pretty certain that
> everything else will just work out by itself. Of that last statement, I
> have no proof...
I, OTOH, checked mine out...
> I think that in a culture that is as accelertated as ours, with as mant
> stresses and failings as it seems to have, that "social mutation" occurs
> constantly. Subcultures are the result. Some survive and thrive, like the
> Goth sub culture, some die off like the Beatnicks. Essentially however, the
> sub cultures offer their adherents a lifestyle or behaviour pattern that is
> adapted differently to the world around them than the manstream culture.
> This may offer selective advantage or disadvantage to its aherents, and the
> subculture of one gerneration may beome the mainstream of another (rock 'n
> roll, etc.). As the Gothic culture has been moving into the mainstream (and
> it has unfortunately for us old fossil Goths) there has been a backlash
> directed at it by the media. Just because someone wears a black trenchcoat
> and owns a Marylin Manson CD doesn't mean that they are a Goth, nor does it
> mean that they are a mass muderer. The media in in its attempt to draw a
> causal connection between them was atrociously irresponsible and a ratherr
> dim indicator on what the purchasing public is willing to believe. I
> seriously hope that Mr. Manson (who has been accused nationally of inspiring
> these events) sues the *&$@! out of the news agencies who irresponsibly
> spread this kind of crap.
I Like MM (although I think his mentor Trent Reznor does it better), and nowhere did I mention Goths. In fact, in at least one of the cases, the perps were rednecked, 4-H NRA-trained Good Young Boys. Methinks that your reaction was a defensive projection (does this mean that Goths are paranoid? Naah...the Moral Majority, Focus on the Family and others of that ilk really ARE out to getcha!).
> By the way - I don't like his music - does that mean that I'm not Goth? Even
> though the Goth movement is older than Manson himself?
> The simple fact is that an atrocious act of violence was commited in a small
> school by some evidently emotionally ill school children. It is that simple.
> If we want to look for causes of their behavior, why don't we start with
> their home lives, psychological environment, and hereditary predisposition
> to violence. Let's replace rumor mongering with scientific investigation,
> reactionism with reason, and panic with compassion?
> Goths don't kill people. People Kill People.....
Goths are People, Too, and while they should not be singled out for self-righteous persecution, neither should they be a priori excluded. We're All in the Mix...