Too often there are too many home fires burning and not enough trees. The human cost of the murderous rage in Oslo, Norway is still being totaled but the preliminary numbers are mind numbing but still overshadowed by another variation of our usual reindeer games. Mistrust and distrust of The Other leads to Fear and then Hatred-and once we get on that escalator of emotional violence, we don't stop until we get to the top.
Even though the cartridge casings from the carnage were still too hot to sort and save after the assault, the rush to pin the blame on The Other had already begun. First out of the box, was the instant analysis aimed at Al Queda and Muslims (used interchangeably since if all ducks are birds, all birds must be ducks) as well as the usual suspects who fit the vaguest of descriptions.
That was followed by the righteous self-righteousness of other media partners mixed with what seemed to be an indecent glee as it became evident the murderous coward responsible had politics far right of center. Thanks to media operators on both side of the partisan divide, the usual danger about rushing to judgment when the judgment's set up wrong has been eliminated because we no longer run out of people who won't get fooled again.
I'm as guilty as anyone of 'gotcha' and 'no tag backs' in arguing about this story (and so many others and variations like it) while losing sight of the critical point: many, many innocent children, women and men died over some obscure ideological point of distinction. And no, I'm not offering links to the lunatic's world view, now or ever. It accords him a dignity and respect he attempted to strip from victims by pretending he could make them an abstraction, devoid of humanity before killing them. Fuck him.
Throughout the blogosphere and on countless media websites the war of words is waged and no one changes anything. No matter how much time you and I and the tens (and hundreds) of thousands of scribblers and scribes across the universe engaged in this very same exercise at this very same moment, argue about the politics which drove the decision to kill and murder, those who died will still be dead.
That we almost didn't even remember to realize that is what should be so frightening. I mourn their deaths though I never had the opportunity to know them or know of them. Speaking of Emergent Occasions, John Donne's Bell does toll, from Oslo to the deserts of the American Southwest and all places in between. And still we argue about the ideology that separates us rather than the humanity we share. Har du ikke hørt, er det en kamp om ord, ropte plakaten bærer. Hør sønn, sa mannen med pistolen, det er plass til deg på innsiden.