Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Schrodinger's Gun

Tevye: He's right too.

Avram the Bookseller: One's right and the other's right. How can they both be right?

Tevye: You know something? You're also right.

Read David Brooks

The Tuscon Murder Spree is, in so many ways, a Rorschach Test. The motives for this crime are so incomprehensible that we can't help but see our own concerns mirrored within this event. To some, it's indicative of right-wing predispositions to violence. To some others, it happened because of violent language in political statements. To others still, it's indicative of the worst excesses of left-wing thinking. To still others, there is an anti-semitic angle. To others, this is evidence of what happens when the mentally ill lack treatment. To still more others, it is evidence of what a lack of stringent gun laws can do (though there might be a bit more empirical evidence for the last two).

But every one of these notions could well be exactly right and exactly wrong simultaneously. A person like Jared Lee Loughner is both so frightening to us and so unknowable that everyone sees their worst nightmares reflected in him. My opinion is that there is at least a little bit of truth in every one of the above statements. Some of them may be more true than others, but they all have the ring of veracity. Some events are so tragic that there is no simple way to comprehend them. We can run through a checklist of every reason this may have happened, and every one of them may well be true. But who's to know? All we can say with certainty is that this is a bottomlessly sad event that we can only wish had never occurred.

No comments:

Post a Comment