I’m still off duty, but goddammit, some political gasbag on the radio has proclaimed a National Day of Mourning for the murdered Virginia Tech students. On such occasions the first thought that coils up in my obstreperal lobe, ready to spring, is this: oh please.
I hope I don’t shock the delicate reader with my imperfectly assimilated sense of patriotism, but I rebel against these national imperatives to mourn perfect strangers. It’s sentimental, sanctimonious, hypocritical crap. You can’t really mourn someone you didn’t know.
You can, of course, mourn the death of an idea, but the idea that campuses are exempt from berserk-os on killing rampages died in 1966, when Charles Whitman’s brain malfunctioned and he shot 46 people from the University of Texas tower. The so-called “end of America’s innocence” precipitated by that massacre has already been mourned. For 40 years.
A rational citizen, using whatever diminished faculties are left to her after a lifetime of governmental, cultural, and religious manipulation, will process the Virginia Tech event the same way she processes the news of any senseless butchery perpetrated by crazy men: with ever-deepening angst. These orating gasbags, with their inane “moments of silence” and paternalistic “days of mourning” whipped up special for the TV cameras, are themselves crazy men. Displaying the disingenuous maggotry that passes these days for statesmanship, they’ll hitch their political wagons to any convenient spontaneous tragedy for an opportunity to convince a global audience that, despite their sponsorship of other, more distant, more invisible, or more devastating calamities, they are in fact capable of humanity.
What kind of moron buys that crap? It’s tragic when some random dude goes off his nut and kills indiscriminately, but it’s unconscionable when an elected government does exactly the same thing on a global scale and everyone swells with national pride. The people running the war may have human DNA, but they are all barbarians.
As Stingray, who actually knew slightly one of the murdered students, so succinctly put it, there ought to be a National Day of Mourning every fucking day until the war is over.