49 Reasons

Of course we want to know why anyone would plan and execute a horrific mass murder of strangers in an American movie house. We want to know why so we can understand it, fix it, and not live in fear for our lives and the lives of those we love.

But senseless murders happen all the time, and to strangers, so what makes the Aurora, CO shootings so different? I suggest that crimes of this nature, those that take place in colleges, schools, fast food places, churches and now movie houses, destroy our expectation of safety in the most public places our culture. These are the places in which we gather for safety, or entertainment and to enjoy the experience of otherness. They are built, preserved and used by and for all of us- our much needed common ground.

I would even go so far as to say they are by modern standards, sacred places. It is their very sacredness that makes the crimes committed in these places all the more horrific. As much as we are horrified by the senseless loss of life, we also feel terribly violated and shocked because of where the murders take place. Killings of this sort are not only targeting people, but the places and our expectations of what those places have come to mean to us.

These crimes have a very impersonal sense to them. Maybe that is why we keep telling the stories of the victims and the survivors. The psyche insists on personifying the act in which the killer attempts to depersonalize, which is demonstrated by his capacity for murdering strangers. We cannot allow, nor should we let the killer’s real crime, his failure of relationship, to have the last word.

There is no reason you can give to explain the motives of someone who is not only killing people, but killing places and killing our culture. It is not reasonable to intend to kill people whom one does not even know. We cannot look to reason to understand mass murders of strangers. The killer, oddly enough, resists personifying and even through the notoriety that the crime brings remains unrelated; a stranger.

Perhaps, to begin to understand what is changing in our culture that might be decreasing our capacity for relatedness we can look to the dark side of modern technology with its increase in mediating our interpersonal experiences- in which we do not have to relate to others, face to face, with flesh and blood humans that talk back, disagree, love and hate us. As it becomes more and more possible to live life without having to truly engage each other in the struggle for survival- we need to remember what our face to face need for each other does for us, how it tempers our sense of self and our world with the one thing we can never live without – otherness.

“Forty nine reasons all in a line
All of them good ones all of them lies.” Stephen Stills

1) He was born that way

2) He was abused as a child

3) He is mentally ill

4) He was heart broken

5) He was evicted from his apartment because he couldn’t pay the rent

6) Not enough gun control laws

7) Too many gun control laws

8) Obsessed with video games

9) He was on drugs

10) He wasn’t on drugs

11) White male privilege

12) He was rejected from a job with the police

13) He was rejected by women online

14) He had a desire to achieve noteriety

15) Unable to form satisfying sexual attachments

16) He was the Joker

17) He thought he was in the movie

18) He was a classic lone wolf

19) He was having problems with his studies

20) He was clinging to his guns

21) He was a Christian

22) He was not a Christian

23) He struggled to find work

24) He was a member of the Tea Party

25) He was a member of Black Bloc

26) Too much violence in the culture

27) He chose to do it

28) He was young and male

29) He does not have a conscience

30) He is a rampage killer

31) He is autistic

32) He was bullied

33) He is a Trekkie

34) He has crossed the Fourth Wall

35) He has identity confusion

36) He has Borderline Personality disorder

37) Urban life has messed him up

38) He is the face of the Constitution

39) He is the product of a sick and twisted society

40) He wanted to wake us up

41) He was a Psych major

42) He has Asperger’s Syndrome

43) He loved all the villains

44) He suffered academic frustration

45) He’s a terrorist

46) He wasn’t progressing

47) He was used as part of a conspiracy to justify UN arms treaty

48) My reason: See above post

49) Your reason here: ________________

Thanks to CSNY for 49 Bye Byes

2 thoughts on “49 Reasons

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