Friday, July 20, 2012

Quiet, kind of a loner.

These are the worst times. Sometimes it happens at a high school, sometimes at a college or at a place of work. Just after midnight today, it happened in a movie theater.

Sometimes, it's around the corner from you. Maybe this time, it's some place you've visited. More likely, it's as remote to you as the moon.

Still, it's the worst time. Maybe next time it will be somewhere nearer. Maybe you will know a victim next time, or even worse, it will be someone you love.

Shit, next time it could be you.

Once in a blue moon, planes crash into buildings. But more often, sickeningly more often, some fucking nut with a gun kills a bunch of people. Who are these people? What can we learn? How can we protect ourselves and our loved ones?

Nobody knows much, but one pattern emerges. The killer is almost always male, and people describe him as "quiet and kind of a loner."


I'm male. I'm quiet and kind of a loner.

I honestly don't mean you any harm.

Some young black males are criminals. In the minds of people who couldn't find logic with a road map, a flash light and a GPS implanted in the back of logic's neck, this means all young black males are suspicious. Some of these dim bulbs think that means they should follow young black males in their car, get out and confront a young black male on a dark, wet night and when they are losing the fist fight, shoot the young black male dead.

This particular brand of dim bulb is thankfully rare. Sadly, the kind of dim bulb who will send such a murderous idiot money appears to be as common as muck.

I'm a loner. I know it sounds flip, but some of my best friends are loners. In general, we are pleasant enough people. The social skills may not be top notch, but there's not a mass of viciousness lurking just under the surface.  For most of the loners I know, a little too much alcohol brings out their deep knowledge of something like Babylon 5, not their deep seated hatred of mankind.

But right now, the public is afraid and they want some place to focus that fear. The odd and the different are the most convenient target ten times out of ten. If some murderous bastard is a Catholic, we know it can't be Catholicism that drove him over the edge. We know plenty of non-murderous Catholics. If some murderous bastard is Islamic, well, maybe we don't know that many Muslims. The odd trait must be the problem.

I'm one of the people you are told to hate right now. I swear on my love of Leonhard Euler, I'm really not the threat.

I'm just quiet and kind of a loner. Most people I talk to really don't want to talk about Leonhard Euler or any of a number of topics that interest me, so mostly I just listen.



Fran said...

Oh Matty, what a thoughtful and important post.

One of the reasons I continue to loathe labels, even if they are not negative, is that labels still can be so divisive in the end.

"Loner" in the context of this story, as you aptly put, conjures up a kind of quiet, inner evil. But that does not mean all loners are dangerous. Yet it ends up being that way.

If "Loner" is a way for people to shudder and think, "Thank God, that is not me or anyone I know, or in my family." that is a sad thing. And a very wrong thing.

We are all wired up differently and some people are loners and "go bad." But not all loners do so.

Abu Scooter said...

All these reports that describe mass-casualty crime suspects as "loners" suffer from horribly faulty logic. It's easy to believe that someone plotting such a crime wouldn't discuss it with anyone else -- but what does that have to do with being a loner?

Not two cat hairs, of course. If an introvert and an extrovert were each planning to shoot up a public space, neither one would discuss his plot with anyone else. They might discuss it openly if they were stupid, but that has nothing to do with being either a "loner" of that "most interesting man" from those Mexican beer ads.

Matty Boy said...

We do have an example of an all-American non-loner terrorist with Timothy MacVeigh, a psychotic who had an accomplice. But in general, people who want to kill a lot of people don't have that special friend who agrees with them and helps them in their task.

AphotoAday said...

They may call us "loners", but in reality we are the ones who get to experience the true meaning of freedom.
Infinitesimal calculus and graph theory? Cool...

Padre Mickey said...

I remember you as more of a noisy loner when you were staying with us.