A New Way to Combat Racism and Terrorism… Shh.
I’ve been quiet on the racist bullshit in Charlottesville (and elsewhere), and I want to tell you why. It’s not that I don’t care, I absolutely do. Part of my family fought in wars to eradicate it, another part of my family is from the exact heritage it purports to decimate. So yeah, I absolutely fucking care.
But I care about stamping it out at any cost, and I am science driven. I’m about solutions. A few years ago I interviewed an economist who was studying terrorism, school shootings, and gun violence, in general. His work group was unearthing some amazing findings regarding why they seemed to be accelerating. If you study history, you are aware of the 1,000 year war between Shia and Sunni, you no doubt are aware of the gun violence in America’s recent past (the Wild West, New York gangs, Chicago rackets, and so on). So, why after 100s of years or even 1000s does it seem like things are “spiraling out of control.” Because the numbers tell us that it certainly is. So, are we more violent than our stupid ancestors? Are we more racist than the previous authoritarian governments or people who have been glamoured by them? I mean, is it rock music? video games? Drugs, Rock, and Hennessy?
No, none of this is true. What is true is that we talk about it, the news shows constant footage of terrorism training, black flags and Toyotas. The national news breaks in and reports a school shooting lockdown in real-time — no matter whether you live 1,000 miles away from it, it’s on every channel. The front page of the paper shows the aftermath of a mass shooting. We see bloodied faces from bombings on constant loop while EXPERT A explains how the law enforcement goes about handling the situation. We know the names, the gun model, the number of shots, the journals and manifest5os. Entire podcasts are dedicated to “breaking down” serial killers and mass murders like it’s a fucking game of Clue.
This is called a “cyclical inflationary spiral.”
And by studying these violent events between 1970–2012 the data shows that the more attention we paid to whatever the tragedy was, (terrorist act, mass shooting, school shooting, racist violence), the more it continued to proliferate. Why?
Well, it’s messaging for those who have a weak mental state and poor social circle. They see a tribe that seems forceful, in control, respected, feared, in these violent acts. Their mental sickness craves that. So, they join or sympathize with terrorists. OR they start plotting their own mass shooting, or they find a local KKK or white nationalist group, or start surfing online and they are integrated so easily with like-minded people. Mentored even. So it feels like an education, and opening of the eyes. And none of these groups say outright what they are about. It’s always under the auspices of being wronged, shunned, set upon by “those people” or the “others.”
Secondarily, those of us not predisposed to this see the constant news, or hear the radio shows, stoking fear that YOU MIGHT BE NEXT! (not true). Or that the GRAND WAR IS COMING (also not true). the fear of a prescribed outcome by masses becomes more of a reality than not.
And so it feeds itself. The radio, Tv, newspapers, social channels, all give power to what would otherwise be marginal groups at best. A few tens of thousand fighters in the desert without tanks, planes, or a navy, are suddenly a global threat. A few hundred thousand religious warriors are suddenly equivocated with a billion people of the same religion who shun them. A few hundred people with Walmart tiki torches are given the same coverage as 20 million women in pussy hats marching nationally, only add some fear and good old hatred and poof, YOUR TOWN IS NEXT!
So, what’s to be done? Well, the scientists who are experts on this would tell you to ignore it. Don’t give a local issue national coverage, don’t give a regional issue global coverage. Never show them. Never name them. If you do, make fun of them, make light of it using history. (Charlie Chaplin as Hitler.) Where military is needed to wipe them out, do so, but do not celebrate it, it will cause more sympathizers. Where military is needed to protect the innocent, do so, but do not wrap it heroism, that creates another kind of cyclical hate. Apply the law, counter-protest, but do not broadcast. Media should not run breaking banners and live feeds from protests just so you can watch violence porn. Do not spend your time elevating the marginal to the level of daily discourse. It gives them power. It gives their cause power it otherwise did not have.
Understand none of this eradicates all violence — gun, racist, terrorist, or otherwise. But it absolutely would deteriorate it, it absolutely would slow it and marginalize it to a reasonable level. We know this because terrorism has been happening in your lifetime every single year. Dastardly things, but it never accelerated until we elevated it. Same with gun violence. Same with racist fucks marching. do you remember the march 4 weeks ago? No? Do you remember the marches in Texas and Louisiana 2 years ago? Because they did happen. And they will happen. The status quo is exacerbating the problem.
Now, I know almost none of you will agree with this. I know that the government and the media will never follow this social science. Why? Because you watch and listen it. That’s the thing, as marketing, it works. No doubt. Less than 10,000 people watched an actual live Space X launch yesterday while “KKK” and “fascism” was trending with over 100,000 tweets. And I bet neither you, nor one person you know, can name more than one of the 218 people who have actually lived in space continually for the last 15 years, but you do know the names of the racists fucks right? You’ve seen the videos and see the tweets. You know the name of the victims. Those you’ve never met. But, I can wish it would change. I can share this information.
Because the only way we will actually beat all of this back is by doing what I, and others, are proposing. Ignore it — for the most part. Give it the attention that a whiny child deserves. And of course, it’s not that simple and black and white. Some things do deserve the national attention. Sometimes it is appropriate. Sometimes, you can’t help by speak up so that your voice is heard. I get it. And I’m not saying this is a magic bullet. It is a regimen for a better society though. It’s also a prescription for your own health.
I know you want to out these fuckers. I know you think sharing links and supporting the breaking news mentality of cable news is you “being informed” or that the country “has to know.” In some cases, that is true. Where racists violence and terrorism is concerned, you are actually aiding their cause by feeding the media narrative of what it is you want to see.
I will leave the link to some of the studies (there are well over 40 of these separately if you search for them), but the guy I’m linking is the gold standard.
Since July 2015, Michael has been working as a Lecturer at the University of Western Australia in Perth. Being…legacy.iza.org
Ok, that’s my 2 cents. As you were. I hope this gives you something to think about.
And I hope you try to love your neighbor wherever they may live, however they may look, whatever they may believe, whether you know them or not.