From The Phantom Speaks Blog. Used with Permission
Hard on the heels of the news out of Newtown, Connecticut is today's summary of the week's news in the Sunday New YorkTimes, with an extraordinary story by Jeffrey Gettleman about the ordinary viciousness of life on planet Earth, this one focused not on America, but on the huge central African nation of Congo. He reports on the rampant raping of women by young men carrying AK-47's in what are called militias. "What's the strategic purpose of putting an AK-47 assault rifle inside a woman and pulling the trigger? Or cutting out a woman's fetus and making her friends eat it?"
As chilling is his simple observation about cruelty not directed at women: "I met a pair of soldiers who had chained a chimpanzee to a corroded railway tie, leaving the animal in a pile of its own feces, staring up at us with rheumy eyes as the soldiers howled with laughter."
Police and pundits alike are quoted, decrying the murder of "innocence" at Newtown. Presumably, they meant, the murder of "innocents," that is, six year old children. But, no, they often extend their remarks to include the adults in this "idyllic" town where adults moved to raise their children in a protected environment, where children could grow up feeling safe from predators.
Of course, there is no such place on earth, not Norway, not small town America.
Wherever there are people, particularly young male human beings, you will find savagery lurking.
Right next to the story about Africa, where young men stride about villages grinning, with babies squirmy in death throes on their bayonets, is a story about crowds on New York city streets, where people walk among each other, reading cues, and never colliding. There is another about the aging of Japan, where the first grade class in Nanmoku has just a single student this year. No fear of mass murder in that school. In fact, enrollment in the whole school system there is down from 1,250 to 37 over the past 50 years. Japan does not have a problem with young men and guns or bayonets, presumably because it has so few young men. But it did once, and they were as vicious or more vicious than any on the planet--just ask the women of Nanjing.
The authors of Freakonomics, have suggested the drop in the murder rate, which began in the United States about 20 years after abortion was legalized resulted from the reduction of unwanted children, so fewer young men were around 20 years later to rape and shoot.
That may apply to the everyday ghetto violence, but what do you think about the mass murderer? As Chris Rock has noted: When you hear about a man who grabs a lady's pocket book, hits her over the head with it, and runs away--Black man. When you hear about a man who walks into a school yard with an AK-47 and mows down six year old children--White guy.
Young, white guy. The people who shoot "randomly" do not typically emerge from the angry underclass, the poor, the spat upon. They seem to come from among the comfortable, from among those to whom much as been given. And they seem to slaughter after planning, and that planning is designed to protect them from being injured, interfered with. Like the lions and predators on the nature shows, they do not attack other lions--they go after the young and the defenseless, where there is less risk of injury to the predator.
Grace Metalious wrote a brave, infamous, by today's standards quite mild pot boiler about 50 years ago, about a New Hampshire village which appeared, on the surface, to be picturesque, quaint, sexless and all "innocence" but which, below the surface was roiling with lust, greed, avarice and rape. It was called Peyton Place. It was a decent book, and it made her famous, and she was not saved by that fame. She is buried in a pretty cemetery near the towns she described. But the violent emotions she described were not buried with her.
There are twenty somethings growing up not five miles from her grave, who put in Congo with an AK-47 in their hands would be just as vicious as any native.