Poor Man's Apocalypse

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In the last couple of weeks it seemed like I was seeing one horrific murder-suicide story after another. (And I wasn't looking for them.) There were several instances of decapitation, and not in Iraq or Indonesia, but in the 'developed world'... the leading economies of the 'developed world'. In Japan a boy walked into a police station carrying his mother's severed head and a couple of similar intra-familial murders in the US ended in a less passive form of 'suicide' than that of surrendering to the state -- individuals in two different cases actually attempted to remove their own heads after killing their parent[s]. The one in California who made his attempt with a circular saw wasn't quite successful (he succeeded in killing himself, but his head didn't roll across the floor), but a determined German fellow proved that a chainsaw can do the job. And just before removing his head so clamorously, he stabbed his father to death.

Later in the week came the story of the poor rural family who came to the 'big city' so that the father could pursue his calling to the clergy. When Grandma went back to the hills and Mom went to find money to support Dad's vision quest/vocational schooling, the baby apparently got microwaved. Mom says Satan did it, but Dad had a story about tripping (as in 'stumbling') and dropping some boiling water on the baby. Maybe he tripped and the baby fell in the microwave and he accidentally closed the door and set the timer and and accidentally bumped into the 'start' button? Finally he admitted it. Because he 'was stressed'. And, surprisingly, he wasn't the first to cook their baby in a microwave. It's not as trendy as spree killings at schools, but it's catching on. The first such incident, that we know of, occurred in Virginia, in 2000, and the mother who cooked her baby is already out of jail, because epilepsy made her do it.

Actually, I thought this subject might be passe. That most everyone might "understand why someone would microwave a baby" -- the working class teenage father who nuked his baby wasn't from some secret government lab or another planet or Papua New Guinea, he would have passed for any ordinary American. One of us. I actually scrapped what I had written, and basically decided that such stories weren't significant enough to warrant a mention. Then came the breaking news about the deeply impoverished mother in Texas who hung herself and all four of her daughters. In a closet. Like the rigged doom of a fucking Thomas Hardy novel adapted into a Hollywood horror flick (as long as we leave out the commentary regarding class). Apparently abusive personal relationships (not to mention the abusive socio-economic relationships) had pushed her to the end of her rope. That tragic shit being all over the mainstream media, plus the suicide of some Japanese politician, plus some of the latest statistics on violent crime from the FBI, all persuaded me to take the time to comment on what I was seeing.

I could write a few paragraphs about alienation & anomie... decadence and defiance... but at this point it seems all of that stuff is self-evident. Not to say that it's passe, or 'understood', but it's at least tacitly accepted. In a 'shit happens' sort of way. We are all so detached and dehumanized that we're killing each other, and ourselves, and it's so prevalent that we hardly notice. Not just on 'battlefields' in 'foreign' lands, but everywhere. We're killing our culture, and our environment, just the same as we're killing each other and ourselves. In so many ways that we don't even recognize many of them.

We desperately need to popularize some alternate solutions to life's conflicts; other than the typical tools like 'controlling' and 'killing'. If there's something you want in this world, you can't just take it... if there's something you don't like, you can't just kill it. A person who kills to alleviate their hate only spreads hate to others, just as a person who commits suicide to escape despair is only releasing their despair to allow it to infect another host.

Not because the Japanese minister of agriculture committed suicide in shame, but I think there is a parallel here to the attempts we make at controlling our natural environment in modern agricultural practices (a point where social, environmental, and economic policies clearly collide). Trying to exercise total control and impose total order over such a wildly diverse system has only served to seriously disrupt the system and deplete it's value. Just as happens when one becomes obsessed with controlling the circumstances of their personal life. In our efforts to maximize yield of life's 'cash crops' we forget all about the 'famine foods' that will sustain us when our faulty socio-economic system inevitably fails. Most 'weeds' are beautiful and delicious flowers, if given the proper attention. The same is true with cultures, causes, people, etc. Oppressing and eliminating the aspects of life that cause you dissatisfaction, or that 'stand in the way of your satisfaction', does a huge disservice to all humanity. So in our culture, as in our agriculture, we have to begin to employ methods other than brute force if we hope to avert a downward spiral of self-destruction that ends with a cataclysmic 'murder-suicide'. There's a fatalistic attitude that emerges when folks don't see viable alternatives to the means that our culture most routinely presents us with. If we can't avoid the events and actions that hold us on a course for doom then we accept it and even work to hasten it. When there's no hope or no desire for a new beginning, apocalypse is the answer.


 
sources:

FBI: Violent Crime Still Rising

California Man Cuts Off Mom's Head With a Saw, Dies Trying to Cut Off His Own

Man Chops Off Head With Chainsaw

Teen Appears at Japanese Police Station With Severed Head, Says He Killed Mother

Woman Sentenced For Decapitating Daughter

Father Charged With Burning Baby In a Microwave

Mother Charged in Baby's Death

Japanese Minister Kills Himself

Texas Mother Hangs Herself, 3 Children

Drought Pushes More Aussie Farmers To Suicide