Archive | July, 2011

We unhappy few

26 Jul

“We don’t have the record anymore.”

That was my first thought when I saw the tally of dead from the Oslo mass murders.

In 1996, Martin Bryant shot 35 people dead at Port Arthur, Tasmania. It was the largest single shooting slaughter in civilised history. A former penal colony famed for its brutality, Port Arthur seemed a horribly fitting place for yet another coward with a duffel bag  to sate their juvenile rage. A haunted house invites one last cruel chapter.

But there is no magic here. No trees with souls or clouds that circle arrows. It’s choice. Banal, horrible choice with a consequence of exponential grief.

I remember one of my closest friends telling my of the Port Arthur shootings after they had occurred. I remember feeling a strange sense of….being Australian….. in the following weeks. Of somehow being connected to my kin in the south. In tragedies, national identity seems to come to the fore, but I have never felt it so potently. Our nation has its share of floods and fire, but within them, no matter the destruction, there is an underlying notion of nature just is and will be what it wishes.

This was different. This was a man who planned and picked and woke up and ate breakfast then went to a peninsular with the goal to kill as many people as possible. Human  nature? I don’t surrender it the same latitude as I do its primal mother.

Let’s get this straight. We know what we’re doing, we men. We know. Don’t let us breathe an utterance of otherwise.

I don’t know what this all means. I’m not even close. Why, with a sense of sad relief our nation can be excused from the record books and the private shame of that emotion? After all, I have lost nothing. My family and those I love are safe. What right do I have?

And now the media. In 95, Bryant’s eyes were digitally altered in photos so he would appear more malevolent.Now they build a new beast, plaster this new fiend’s story into mythology when he can barely be anything more than a compression of spite who could manage the basic purchasing procedures of guns. Let’s shut our curiousity down and let whatever he is drift to those who may know how to examine properly such a failure of humanity and be done with him. If there are lessons from this, they almost certainly will not be born from the media tsunami.

But why always men? What dysfunction do we bear? The exoticism of guns. The status of anger.

It’s all fucked up.

We don’t have the record anymore.

It’s gone.

Along with almost a hundred lives and grief that tethers us to something unknown.

I guess you gotta keep faith. That in men there is a thread of gentleness that defines most of us. That men are largely soft and what fear we bear we work to bring to harness or healing. Maybe today is the day to tell your guy, “You’re okay, you know,” and give him a hug.

I don’t know.

Just can this inexorable cadence please stop.

I don’t know.

It’s all fucked up.