Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Whys of Murder

From Peggy Noonan:

About 15 years ago, a TV interviewer noted my concern at the damage I thought was being done by the highly violent, highly sexualized nature of our culture, of our movies and TV and music. It will make us more brutish, I'd argued, and some will imitate what they see.

The interviewer was good-humored but skeptical: Hollywood makes a lot of comedies. Why don't we see the country breaking out in laughter?

Violence is different, I said, because there are unstable people among us, and they are less defended against dark cultural messages. The borders of the minds of the unstable are more porous. They let the darkness in. You can go to a horror movie and be entertained or amused: "This is scary, I love getting scared, and I love it because I know it isn't real." But the unstable are not entertained by darkness. They let it in. They are inspired by it. Sometimes they start to live in the movie in their heads. "I am the Joker," the shooter is reported to have told the Aurora police.


From Theodore Dalrymple:

By a strange irony, alleged Aurora mass murderer James Holmes was a doctoral student of neuroscience—the discipline that will, according to its most ardent and enthusiastic advocates, finally explain Man to himself after millennia of mystery and self-questioning.

But what could count as an explanation of what James Holmes did? At what point would we be able to say, "Aha, now I understand why he dyed his hair like the Joker and went down to the local cinema and shot all those people?" When we have sifted through his biography, examined his relationships, listened to what he has to say, and put him through all the neuropsychological and neurological tests, will we really be much wiser?


From me:

Original sin.