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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Same Old Grief Response

Why must we hear from American politicians whenever there's a terrorist attack somewhere else? After the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert this week, it was one thing to hear from the mayor of Manchester or the British Prime Minister, but who cares what Paul Ryan or Nancy Pelosi has to say about it? For that matter, why even quote President Trump when he calls the attackers "evil losers." Wow, those are the words of a statesman. Or a talk radio caller.

How does that help?

I know the reason we get those quotes is that media outlets have correspondents with connections to politicians, so they are the first people they think of asking for comments about pretty much anything that happens. It could be a bombing at a concert in England or an earthquake in Venezuela. In any circumstance, the politicians don't have much more to offer on the subject than your average Facebook user who posts "my thoughts are with the people of...."

We can knock that off, too. It's nothing more than an attempt to show your followers that you're a compassionate person, but it's literally the least you can do after events like this. It would be different if you knew someone involved, or had some clues as to who the culprits were, or the horror happened in your own town.

Worse are the people who feel compelled to report they took their own daughter to see Ariana Grande when she was in their city, so they have a connection to the victims' families. No, you don't. Your child is alive and well, while theirs is maimed or dead. Despite what you may believe from your social media addiction, not everything is about you.

I also get annoyed at the authorities who ramp up the alert status after one of these mass killings. If it was a suicide bomber then, by definition, the suspect is dead and thus unlikely to commit another grievous act. If there are others like him, they will simply wait until you lower your alert status as they plan their next attack. These things don't usually coincide with anything in particular -- that's why they're called random attacks.

Finally, I'm still confused as to what attackers like this hope to accomplish. Are they trying to achieve some sort of policy change? If so, when has that ever worked? Can you name a single random mass murder in recent years that made the situation better for those who sided with the killer? What gains were realized after this year's insidious incidents in Paris, London, and Stockholm? How about from the shootings in Orlando, San Bernadino, or Charleston?

Is the only goal to kill as many people as possible? That's just psychopathic behavior, and you'll never be able to stop someone motivated by that, regardless of your alert status or the number of faux grieving Facebook posts.