Made in 2006, Idiocracy is one of the stupidest AND funniest movies I have ever seen. Pvt. Joe Bauers, a completely average guy, is forced into a military experiment, in which he and Rita, an average woman who is also a prostitute, are put into suspended animation for a year to see whether it might work at all. The experiment goes haywire, and they don’t wake up for 500 years. By that time, 500 years of over-populating by the dumbest people in society and under-populating by the smartest have resulted in a country that is so dumbed down, that Joe and Rita are the two most intelligent people in the world. There is a lot of evidence that this dumbing down process is not just fiction. You can read about it here. https://curmudgeon550.blog/2019/06/03/why-are-we-becoming-dumber/
The movie projects the trajectories of present trends 500 years into the future, with no ameliorating forces. Some of the sight gags are ridiculously hilarious. Buildings in cities are crumbling and held together with wire. The Washington monument is leaning to one side. Costco warehouses are the size of small cities, but the shelves are piled so high that the merchandise is unreachable, and most of it has crumbled into heaps of junk. The furniture section features only thousands of identical red sofas, because no one can figure out how to make anything else. The President of the US is a black rapper played to the hilt by hugely muscular Terry Crews, wearing a gold wig. Predictably, the movie gets dumber and less funny as it tries to substitute a plot for sight gags, but the lack of meaning and purpose in life infects everyone. They probably hope for a mass shooting to liven things up, or to end their meaningless existence.
As a sample, the most popular TV show in the country when Joe wakes up is called Ow, My Balls. It’s an endless reel of men performing stupid stunts that result in getting their crotch impaled, and the most popular movie, which has hundreds of patrons giggling, simply called Ass, is hours of naked saggy butts. I then realized that this movie inadvertently illustrates the driving forces behind these manifesto-driven “mass shootings.” How so? Writes Alyssa Ahlgren: Regarding modern day life, “more people are on medication than any other time in modern human history. Rates of depression and suicide are at an all-time high. The dismantling of the family unit is destroying our youth. There is a lack of purpose and higher calling as we become cold to the thought of the existence of God or anything greater than ourselves. Our minds are denigrated to a place of immorality without the guidance of a virtuous purpose above our own subjective feelings. This lack of purpose allows for a dangerous dogma to fill the void. Mental health problems and disgusting ideologies like white supremacy take the place of the unifying religious and American values that fuels the human spirit.”
She’s correct, but as usual, proposes solutions that generalize about what the royal “we” needs to do. “Instead of more legislation, we need to better enforce the laws already on the books. We need to build up our mental health system that was destroyed in the 50s and 60s. We need to be proactive in treating the sick among us. We need to make sure law-abiding citizens have the ease to exercise their Second Amendment right when the institutions designated to enforce the laws fail us. And we need to revitalize the higher purpose and values that built this country in the first place. Guns have been a widespread presence for 243 years; staring at an inanimate object instead of the problem won’t cure this cancer of the soul.”
Okay, all well and good, but….These manifesto driven killers are actually hungry for community, personal acknowledgement and authentic relationships. That’s a big reason for writing their rambling online manifestos. This is their meaning in life, their minds are confused vacuums filled with blame, shame, anger, all of which demands someone to blame, like Hitler blaming the Jews for Germany’s post WWI woes. I am going to suggest two ideas here, one is what the authorities can do, and the other is a basic truth of life that the rest of us might strongly consider. This basic truth is: You are ultimately alone, unless you are resting in the lap of God. People move on, relationships move on, life moves on, friends and family die, move away, become estranged. As Jackson Browne put it in his song, For A Dancer, “no matter how close to yours, another’s steps have grown, in the end there is one dance you’ll do alone.” Accept it, embrace it, if you want friends, first be the friend you’re looking for, or get a dog, but don’t fight your feelings or blame someone for your isolation. If you are more or less well adjusted, blaming others for this fact of life may just sadden you, but for the manifesto killer, sadness and loneliness transform into bullets, then the media and politicians transform the bullets into bullshit.
As for what the government can do: If these killers are looking for notoriety, or don’t fear death or prison (if they find lots of like-minded friends or fans), deterrence might not be possible, but what’s the most likely deterrent? Let it be known that whatever population the killers hate the most, according to their manifesto or statements, that’s the very group they will live with in the general prison population. For example, the guy who killed in El Paso says he hated Mexicans, make sure he is incarcerated with lots of them. Of course that’s a death sentence, but 1. It’s deserved and 2. If anything could deter his actions, it would be that. Is that too cruel? You might raise the objection that such a fate would make death preferable, so the killers will not surrender but try to kill more. Don’t they already try to kill as many as possible?
Am I being satirical or serious? “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.”- Ecclesiastes 8:11. So said Solomon, the wisest man who lived. The average death row inmate spends 20 years, 3 months in prison from sentencing until the sentence is carried out. Virtually all the mass shooters surrender to police when apprehended rather than choosing to shoot it out, so you have to ask yourself, why prefer prison to death? Could it be that their expectations of prison or their trials is about prolonging their notoriety?
Evil is no longer deterred by the threat of prison, prison has even become something cool to certain types who think it brings street cred. Gangs operate with impunity inside prison, they terrorize the least of the criminals and elevate the worst. Mass shooters are probably lionized and protected by their particular hatred group. My idea would create the opposite situation. They would know what it is to be terrorized. But that’s not enough. Their prison experience needs to serve as a lesson to would-be manifesto murderers.
I wrote all of the foregoing before seeing the latest news about reactions to the El Paso and Dayton shootings. Now I have to do a part two, because the Idiocracy isn’t in 500 years, we already live in it.