The photo’s not the best, I just thought “hostage event parking” was sort of funny. The institution where I work is home to a well-known center that trains hostage negotiators, SWAT personnel, law enforcement first responders, and their ilk. Said center is hosting a big conference right now. So big it took me a lot longer than usual to find parking amidst all the police vehicles and rent-a-cars. I thought to myself, damn I hope there aren’t any real life hostage situations or shootings anywhere because all the people who know what to do in a situation like that seem to be occupied.
The more I learn about these experienced and well-trained people, the more grateful I am for their service, their knowledge, and commitment to a calm, measured response.
And what really scares me about any kind of dramatic and dangerous crisis is this: there are plenty of folks who justthink they know what to do. Because they’ve been waiting for just such a crisis, be it a hostage situation, a campus shooter, or full scale terrorist invasion. There are far too many regular civilians out there whose inexperience and lack of training doesn’t keep them from imagining something like that, longing for it even. That came to mind after reading this bySteve M.
I see this among gun zealots — some people simply like guns, or like
hunting, or legitimately need a gun for protection, but then there are
those who utterlysavor the notion that marauding hordes of
criminals (1980s version) or jackbooted big-gummint fascists (modern
version) will invade the Real America, and only handguns will prevent
Good People from having to submit to Evil.
But Steve isn’t talking about just any ordinary garden variety freepers here. The post is about the recent New York Times profile of Roger Ailes. About howwhen, not if, al Quaeda invades Fox News Headquarters, Roger (and one can only assume, Hannity, Doocy, and I guess Palin now) are going to stay and fight off the brown hordes, mano a mano.
But, see, Ailes here isn’t just expressing his fears — he’s expressing hisfantasies. Hewants
to see himself as a guy al-Qaeda would like to target, and he wants to
see himself as a guy who’d kick al-Qaeda’s ass. It’s fear, but it’s
And yeah, that’s a hoot. Sort of. Okay, not so much.
This fantasy was dangerous enough a generation ago when it was just a
law-and-order pipe dream; now, in its politicized form, it’s
practically the entire belief system of the tea party movement, with
the caveat that the teabaggersmight not need to lock-‘n’-load
if the next couple of election cycles go the right way. But it’s all
about imagining yourself as a hero, as a tough guy, as someone whose
life has real meaning. It’s boy thinking. And it’s a major undercurrent
of our politics.
Yeah, sure, this isn’t new. We talk about it a lot. Hell, Tommy‘s made a vocation of it. But there is a significant distinction that we can’t ever lose track of, and that we need to fight hard to strategically exploit. We knew they would go nuts if they lost, that they’d raise hell, but the extent to which the crazy has taken over, is driving their bus, isn’t diminishing, and lord knows the media isn’t going to help us, because freak shows make great entertainment.
This isn’t about mere wingnuttery. It’s not just macho posturing. It’s mayhem they want.