Thursday, March 3, 2016

Violence Craziness in the Air

A few months ago I ran into a woman, a physician still in practice, who I hadn't seen in many a year. After a hug or two she broke off to say — to declare — that this was the scariest time she'd ever known. I scoffed, pooh-poohed, didn't credit it. She and I had both been through the sixties, a time when, as one writer has put it, "America was so overwhelmed by war, antiwar, assassinations, uprisings, happenings, and backlashes that it frequently seemed on the verge of disintegrating."

But her words come back to me. There's a lot of violence in the air, violence and craziness, many killings that have some sort of deranged political motive and many that do not, many that are simply deranged. Donald Trump, of course, pumps massive quotients of craziness and violence, and threat of violence, into the system. It's his metier. Where would he be without it? If there were a way to quantify spurts of violent/crazy discourse as one can quantify greenhouse gas emissions and trace them to their origin Trump would be judged as having quasi-volcanic import.

Having said that, Trump may have less import in this regard than Islamist terrorism.

Being utterly opposed to Isis and al Qaeda does not necessarily confer immunity to murderousness.

Violence and craziness beget violence and craziness.

It happened in the sixties, when some of the people of my generation who were most opposed to the War in Vietnam, among whom I include myself, became the most violently opposed, to the point where it was, and is, on reflection, hard to say which was uppermost, the opposition in its own right or the violence of it.

Forget politics, ideology, religion. Those supposed firewalls become irrelevant when violence and craziness are in the air.





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