A String of Obvious Questions

Detail of framegrab from FLCL episode 2, 'Firestarter'.

File under Stupid:

Green River Community College went into lockdown Monday morning after a threat was made against the school, Auburn police said.

Cmdr. Steve Stocker of the Auburn police said an unknown person made the threat to a faculty member at about 10:15 a.m., saying something to the effect that there was going to be a shooting.

(KOMO News)

Perhaps a number of factors are coincidental. We do, in our society, have a problem with misogyny that reached a dramatic height at GeekGirlCon earlier this month, when someone issued a bomb threat against the convention; apparently the mixing of females and technology is a mortal offense? And the deadly violence at Marysville-Pilchuck High School seems, ostensibly, to have been about a girl.

But we don’t really know what pushed the GRCC terror threat, and that is important to note.

Yes, we need to address misogyny, but there are also a number of other factors to consider.

The thing is that each part of the issue has a way of spilling over its banks and soaking the others. This sort of overlap causes confusion for many people; indeed, we at This Is have a good friend who is bright and rational and all of those nice things we appreciate about people, but he is by nature incapable of comprehending what guns have to do with anything.

Not that we need to campaign against guns, specifically, but it does make some sort of point to acknowledge that there are people in this world who wonder what guns have to do with mass murder by firearm. It happens. To wit, he says, “Don’t make new laws, enforce the ones we have!” But there are some laws he believes exist everywhere despite observable reality.

And, you know, it might be kind of a low blow, but he also wonders why anyone would ever prosecute someone who negligently shot his own son to death with a handgun he was prohibited by law from carrying. And while that tragedy out of Pennsylvania has seemingly little to do with what has been going on around the Seattle area of late, there is also more there than it seems.

Look, when the guy argues that Elliot Rodger could have beaten that many people to death with his fists before he was stopped, it’s hard to know where to go next. Nonetheless, he is but one example, and the point is that much of what we might think self-evident is, in fact, anything but.

But here’s the thing: These elements are interrelated, yet held wholly separate.

My friend, the “left-libertarian”α firearm fanatic, would focus on the misogyny. Actually, most of my friends left of center would tend to focus on misogyny as its own issue, and on this occasion it seems reasonable enough; first a bomb threat against icky, icky girls, and then, well, right. A high school shooting rampage, with every indication of having been … about a girl.

Get rid of misogyny, and you don’t need to worry about guns, or so my friend would have me believe. Might as well just get rid of the girls, too, because, you know, as FOX News explained, men will be men, and women ought to be grateful.

Right. Welcome to … oh, I don’t know, America?

Then again, he has a point: Get rid of icky girls and boys won’t kill each other and everyone else because of their feelings about those icky, icky girls.

But that begs another question: Does that mean no more mass shootings? I mean, if we just get rid of women? Well, in the first place, men won’t stand for it because that means some of them will need to get on their knees and fellate in order to get off with another person, and everyone knows that’s what women are for.

Right? Right? I mean, come on. Knowhatimean?β

So just dealing with misogyny won’t do it. To the other, that is no excuse for ignoring a problem not only trying to stare us in the face, but literally begging, with the blood of our daughtersγ, for attention.

At present, the reason for the shooting threat against Green River Community Collegeδ does not at present show any specific connection to misogyny, and we will certainly give the issue a pass barring evidence that we shouldn’t. But that only points back to another aspect of the problem.

In the case that we should consider the GRCC event with all the gravity of a real and genuine terror threat—and it would be exceptionally unwise to regard it otherwise—we might wonder at the idea that mass murder or the threat thereof somehow constitutes a solution. And if that seems familiar insofar as it might be applicable to, say, other issues, such as, you know, a high school shooting a short drive from Auburn, Washington, well, we might offer dubious congratulations for being correct.ε

Okay, now we’re getting back toward the problem.

Misogyny, racism, and any number of bigotries could easily be resolved by the conscious adoption of general human decency. There is, however, a large and influential sector of our generally democratic society that believes otherwise. Their numbers are the only thing that demands attention, lest we wouldn’t have Texas striking married women from the voter rolls for obeying the prevailing custom of changing their names after the wedding. Nor would we all be waiting with bated breath for a judicial decision out of the Sixth Circuit in which some prognosticators imagine that the judges will dispense with precedent, justice, and the Constitution itself, in order to create a made-for-primetime Supreme Court conflict. That is, when you find yourself asking why doctors would break the law in order to make a non-medical political argument, well, okay, you’re in Texas, but the point still holds. Basic human decency. Too many people reject the idea, from two-bit high school shooters on up to the Green family.ζ

But therein lies the key. Whether it’s misogyny or religious supremacism or racism or whatever, far too many people seem to abide by the proposition that it ain’t bigotry if nobody’s dead. Which, in turn, creates a convenient surrender: Just another deviant. Nothin’ we can do about it.

Those people are wrong, though. There is something we can do about it, starting with basic human decency.

Jared Fryberg: So what if she wasn’t into you?

#GamerGate: What in the world is your problem with the video game industry tapping a market sector that just happens to comprise a majority of human society?

The Unknown GRCC Threat: What could possibly be worth gunning people down en masse? And no, you don’t get to stand on the point that it was merely a threat.

This sickeningly ironic thing is that this malady arises from the sector that, in my youth, constantly warned against these outcomes. Some might be familiar with the phrase, “Self-fulfilling prophecy”. This is merely vernacular. A slightly more clinical way of saying it is, “Ego defense in effect.”

And it really is that simple. When it comes to women, getting laid is more important to so many people in the world that we continue to hedge and make excuses for rampant sexual objectivization of women of the sort that leads to mass murder threats and, now and then, actual mass murder. When it comes to rendering unto Caesar, the faithful are too often faithless; God’s will and purpose is meaningless to them unless it pleases their aesthetics. No wonder so many have forgotten the adage that God knows what is in a person’s heart. Hell, we have prosperity gospel these days. You know, the idea that God loves you because you’re rich? Sure, Christ spoke the opposite, but we know better; we always have.


One need not be a Christian, or, indeed, religious in any particular way, in order to acknowledge the idea of basic human decency.

Who cares if she’s not into you? The guys? Well, okay, you’ve just identified a problem.

See how that works?

What’s that? You don’t want women in your video games if they’re not your fantasy sex kitten? Well, we kinda already knew that, already. What’s up with the mass murder fetish?

Seriously, though, even if you’re some enraged gutless wonder who would never have what it takes to steal an airplane and crash it into a building, why the hell would you call in a murder threat?

Is it that you want attention? Does our condemnation of your flaccid hatred get you off? Is that what you’ve been reduced to? Hell, there are plenty of us in society who would rather help you climb up out of that shadowed valley of death, but, hey, you’d just shoot us. Or, at least, call in a bomb threat against the evacuation effort.

What about such methods convince people they can win? Or is that the key? Is it perhaps that they’re not trying to win, but, simply, want to take as many people as possible with them as they lose?

Each person is a person. If you judge them differently because of their sex organs, or their skin color, you’re doing it wrong. If you reserve sympathy for miscreants of your religion or culture, but not theirs, such as it is, you’re doing it wrong. We are dealing with a world filled by over seven billion human beings, and each one of them is a unique person. Get used to that fact. And, yes, it can be overwhelming, but consider the numbers. You just don’t have enough fucking bullets.

And, you know, there is also the point that you cannot save the human species by aiding in its drive to extinction.

So what the hell is the problem? What about basic human decency so offends you that you would reject it?

It’s a coward’s argument. You deserve what you refuse to grant other people? Do you feel powerful? Fine. But in the end, you’re just an excremental waste of humanity, one of many potentials in the human tale that, sadly, results in the understanding that your own particular human endeavor was a mistake.


α Whatever the hell that means.

β Why does the phrase, “A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat”, occur to me here?

γ And sons. We won’t leave them out. We at This Is are aware that focusing on statistical outcomes is unfair to the deviations.

δ Home of the one and only KGRG. Never mind. Local thing. Good music, though.

ε That is, if you are subject to a nagging whisper that this would be some manner of dubious honor, you would not be alone.

ζ That would be the Green family that controls a chain of stores best known as Hobby Lobby, who feel that their right to commune with their chosen God is somehow violated by basic human decency.

KOMO Staff. “Green River Community College on lockdown after threat”. KOMO News. 27 October 2014.

Kittel, Olivia. “Let Men Be Men: FOX News Hosts Defend Catcalling”. Media Matters for America. 28 August 2014.

“Prosperity Gospel”. Christianity Today. (n.d.)

Image credit: Framegrab from FLCL, epsiode 2, “Firestarter”: “The ashes are all blown away.”

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