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Thread: What Is Wrong With These People?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    Default What Is Wrong With These People?

    Excellent essay in The Atlantic Monthly by family friend Peter Sagal, host of NPR's Wait, Wait . . . Don't Tell Me!.

    https://apple.news/A_iRMYRFZQvyLK-PCP9Ytlw

    Killed for Walking a Dog
    The mundanity and insanity of gun death in America

    September 21, 2022

    There is no particular reason people should care about the shooting of Isabella Thallas, which is why, as far as I can tell, not many people did. She was the only casualty, and there was no mystery as to who shot her, and in a country in which guns kill more than 40,000 people every year -- well, who has the time to stop and mourn for just one of them?

    But there was something about this killing, on the side of a Denver street on a sunny June morning in 2020, that captured my attention. I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened to Bella Thallas. Maybe it was her age -- about that of my own daughters -- or maybe it was the specific circumstances of her murder, which were both mundane and completely insane.

    For two years I tracked down what news I could find in the Denver press and looked in vain for the national coverage that I assumed would follow but never did. Eventually, I wrote to Bella’s family -- her mother, father, sister, boyfriend -- and talked to them about who Bella was and what happened on the day she died. There isn’t and never will be any satisfactory explanation for what happened to her, but I came as close as I could to understanding what was lost when it did.

    [Continued . . .]
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  2. #2
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    victoria, australia. (1 address now)
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    Default Re: What Is Wrong With These People?

    "We all now live in a kind of permanent Sarajevo. Whenever we go outside, to work or school, to walk our dogs, to attend our parades, we know without saying and accept without protest that gunshots might ring out and take our lives or the lives of those we love. But we don’t think about it—we don’t scan the rooftops, because there’s no point. The gun could come from anywhere at any time, and so we do what humans do: We pretend that nothing is wrong and go about our day. We do not think of the deaths around us in the same way that we do not think of our own, inevitable deaths, because to think too deeply about them would paralyze us."

  3. #3
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    Hills of Vermont, USA
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    Default Re: What Is Wrong With These People?

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    "We all now live in a kind of permanent Sarajevo. Whenever we go outside, to work or school, to walk our dogs, to attend our parades, we know without saying and accept without protest that gunshots might ring out and take our lives or the lives of those we love. But we don’t think about it—we don’t scan the rooftops, because there’s no point. The gun could come from anywhere at any time, and so we do what humans do: We pretend that nothing is wrong and go about our day. We do not think of the deaths around us in the same way that we do not think of our own, inevitable deaths, because to think too deeply about them would paralyze us."
    Hardly. No one near where I live worries "whenever we go outside" - but believe the above if you like.

    I'm not saying we don't have a gun/violence problem but your quote is hyperbole.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  4. #4
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    St. Paul, MN, USA
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    Default Re: What Is Wrong With These People?

    Nobody I know, even in far worse neighborhoods than I live in, thinks like that. Yes, the US has a gun violence problem, and some very stupid laws, but anyone's chance of getting shot for no reason by a random lunatic is still very, very small. This story is in The Atlantic precisely because it's dramatic, tragic, horrible, and unusual.

    'What Is Wrong With These People' is that some fraction of any human population is mentally seriously messed up (highly technical term), some quite small fraction of them are murderous, and we do a lousy job of keeping sophisticated tools designed specifically for efficient killing out of their hands.
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 09-22-2022 at 07:48 AM.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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