With yesterday’s plane crash in Austin, Texas, there’s a rush among the politically-obsessed to find some political meaning in it — preferably, one that can be used to beat one’s opponents over the head. Leftists talk about how this guy must have been fired up by the “anti-government hatred” stirred by the Tea Party movement, while righties point to the guy’s manifesto’s pronounced anti-capitalist, pro-communist elements.
I have a simpler explanation, one based on a theory I developed years ago.
Crazy People Do Crazy Things For Crazy Reasons.
We’ve always had crazy people. We’ve always had crazy people doing crazy things. And those crazy people always have crazy reasons for doing those crazy things. It’s a fact of life.
There’s a corollary to that law, one that follows organically:
Those who would pass laws in an attempt to keep Crazy People from Doing Crazy Things For Crazy Reasons are only slightly less crazy.
Back in the early 1980’s, we had a brief rash of famous people being shot by crazy people, who had the perquisite crazy reasons. And in each case, we didn’t look to pass new laws that addressed the crazy reasons. We didn’t ban Jody Foster movies or highly-overrated teen angst novels, despite John Hinckley and Mark David Chapman.
In my lifetime, I can recall exactly three incidents of someone deliberately crashing a small plane into a building. Before Austin, a crazy 15-year-old boy stole a Cessna and crashed it into the Bank of America building in Tampa, Florida. And in 1994, a nut crashed a Cessna into the White House.
But nobody’s seriously proposing we ban Cessnas.
In the past week or so, we’ve had two people of seriously strong leftist political bents go crazy and kill people. Does that qualify as an indictment of liberalism?
No, it doesn’t. (Besides, “liberalism” is itself an indictment of liberalism; it needs no help.)
Both sides have their crazies. Neither side is especially obligated to “police” its own and disown every single nut and nutty thing said nuts do.
This is not an absolute rule, of course. “Guilt by association” is wrong, but there is an element of “choosing your friends carefully.” Simply having some loose associations with certain undesirable types is part and parcel of being involved in the American political process; tying oneself too closely to the worst, on the other hand, calls into question one’s own judgment.
CPAC letting the John Birch Society buy a table at their gathering is one thing. Barack Obama building the foundation of his political career under the auspices of unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers (who co-authored a book dedicated to some of the most repulsive people in the world, including Sirhan Sirhan, Robert Kennedy’s assassin, and was involved in several bombings) is quite another.
Personally, I have a rule I try to live by: I speak for nobody, and nobody speaks for me. This makes it a bit hard to get too involved in larger groups, but by that I mean that I am only answerable for my own words and actions.
As a corollary, that is why I so despise the “white supremacist” movement. I am pretty much a pure-blooded member of what they describe as the “Master Race,” and I get royally pissed at those who claim to be acting for me. Toss in how my “pure white blood” has given me an extensive list of genetically-caused health issues (no, no inbreeding as far as I know), and I know first-hand how full of shit they are.
But back to the topic at hand. Several crazy people have done some crazy things in the past week. That tells us that we should watch people who start acting crazy, who give warning signs of crazy behavior (the actions of Dr. Amy Bishop should have set off major warning flags — “accidentally” killing her brother with a pump-action shotgun that “went off by accident” three times, apparently pumping itself between shots, assaulting a woman in an IHOP for taking the last booster seat, and being a suspect in an attempted bombing — but I suspect her educational pedigree and obvious intelligence led people to excuse her craziness as the sort of “eccentricity” that one should expect from the intellerati.
However, we’re just going to have to resign ourselves to the simple fact that these sorts of things are going to continue. The logic of “Crazy People Do Crazy Things For Crazy Reasons” is hard-coded into human nature.
And pointing fingers at political ideology won’t change that one damned bit.