|Parkland shooting exposes the terrible power and appeal of sacred violence
(March 31, 2018)
To the average American, a mass killing appears as a spontaneous act of irrational violence that leaves in its wake dead bodies and shattered lives. It evokes a natural, emotional reaction, especially among those caught up in it. People who react emotionally, though, do not think critically, and if they do not think critically they do not question the official media narrative of what happened.
Instead of being a thorough investigation into the cause of the killing, the narrative is largely a selective, voyeuristic exploitation of its effect: tearful survivors, anguished friends and family, and interviews with witnesses. This exploitation is then spun into a narrative to manipulate the public into accepting an ex post facto version of what ostensibly happened. Analysis and debate are actively sabotaged lest the received truth from the Church of CNN and its high priest Anderson Cooper, inter alia, be cast into doubt.
The religious allusion is justified because cognitive dissonance and dogmatic irrationality, usually associated with biblical obscurantists, are now pervasive throughout the U.S. Despite the fact that the contradictions and absurdities of every act of mass violence are archived on the Internet, millions of Americans fall for the same scripted atrocity time and time again as if they had no collective memory or capacity for independent judgment.
A media narrative of a mass shooting generates quasi-religious loyalty for three main reasons. First, it gives people what they want: a patsy and moral reassurance. Once the patsy is identified and either killed or captured, the narrative then acts as a form of catharsis by providing closure, commiseration and reassurance. People accept it because they want to.
Second, a media narrative is championed by political interests that “decouple” the narrative from its putative cause so that it takes on a life of its own. The narrative then becomes its own justification. The shooting, once a horrific crime, becomes a de facto positive event, an act of sacred violence that justifies the existence of the political crusade.
Third, loyalty is magnified when converts, attracted by the political crusade, self-identify with its black-and-white morality and help stifle dissent. Typical is the resort to tired, risible epithets like “conspiracy theory,” “Putin apologist,” “Russian bot,” and the caricaturing of critics as right-wing kooks and disinformants.
Ad hominem attacks, ironically, do more to discredit the narrative than support it because they show that it cannot be defended rationally, but such is the case with all religious or quasi-religious dogma.
The latest instance of enthusiastic self-delusion pertains to the media narrative of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. More than any other recent act of mass violence the political crusade that it spawned has been conspicuously rapid and well organized albeit sloppily executed. What’s worse, millions of people have joined the crusade and will go to great lengths to smear, marginalize, censor and mock those who point out the narrative’s inconsistencies, of which there are many.
For reasons beyond the shooting itself, it is vital that Americans understand what did or did not happen at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The focus should not be on alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz or the National Rifle Associaition of America but on the narrative and those pushing it. As always, the victims are not the real target.
The Parkland Narrative
The essence of what Americans are supposed to believe is well known: a lone gunman––mentally disturbed, 19-year-old ex-student Nikolas Cruz––shot 17 people to death using an AR-15 assault rifle. Based on this premise, the media narrative blames the shooting on the easy availability of automatic weapons how someone of Cruz’s questionable sanity could get his hands on one. Typical is this statement from Robert W. Runcie, Broward County Superintendent of Schools:
Students have been reaching out to me, reaching out to staff, probably board members and others, saying that now is the time for this country to have a real conversation on sensible gun control laws in this country. So, our students are asking for that conversation. And I hope we can get it done in this generation, but if we don’t, they will.
The second thing … we can do now and get done in the legislative session is some real funding for mental health support for our youth and organizations in our community so we can properly provide the right kind of interventions. We should not have disconnected youth wandering around in our communities and we know that they need additional support.
As part of the gun-control argument, the narrative also puts the NRA in the stocks for the way its permissive attitude towards gun ownership has warped American society. Dr. Henry Giroux, writing for the progressive website truthout.com, referred to NRA leader Wayne LaPierre as “the dark night of gun violence,” and imputes responsibility to the NRA for Cruz’s rampage:
A culture of cruelty, silence and indifference to the needs of children, built on the backs of the conservative media politicians and the gun industry and lobby, has become a central and ethically disturbing feature of American society. This is a culture of political corruption and social abandonment that “has a remarkable tolerance for child slaughter, especially the mass murders of the children of others.”
This particular narrative is defensible if and only if Nikolas Cruz acted as a lone gunman and his AR-15 assault rifle was involved in all deaths. If not, then at least one other person was responsible, and that would collapse the lone gunman narrative and the pro-gun control/anti-NRA message on which it depends.
The case for Cruz’s acting alone comes principally from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, but its version of events cannot be reconciled with other accounts. First, the BSO has Cruz running out of building 12, the scene of the shooting, at 2:28 p.m. Media sources, including Fox News and The Daily Beast, have Cruz still in the building pulling a fire alarm at 2:30 to bring students out of the classrooms to maximize casualties. This claim, in turn, contradicts the BSO timeline, which alleges that Cruz started shooting just after 2:21 and proceeded to kill people on three floors.
To make matters even murkier, eyewitness testimony contradicts both of these timelines. Alexa Miednik, a senior student, told CBS News that she was casually walking (not running) and talking with Cruz in the hallway after the alarm was sounded, which strongly suggests he didn’t pull it. Miednik also knew that Cruz wasn’t a lone gunman: “When shots were fired, I saw him after the fact. The shots were coming from the other part of the building. So, there definitely had to be two shooters involved.”
Another student told a reporter from Houston NBC affiliate KPRC that there were definitely three shooters, and that "army personnel" told students not to look at the bodies they that had piled under mats. Cruz would not have had time to stash bodies in this manner because according to the BSO timeline, the entire rampage was non-stop and 100 rounds were fired in fewer than three minutes.
Teacher Stacy Lippel was wounded outside her classroom, and her description of her assailant did not fit Cruz: “I’m staring at him [20 feet away] thinking, ‘Why are the police here?’ This is strange because he’s in full metal garb, helmet, face mask, bulletproof armor, shooting this rifle that I’ve never seen before.”
Regardless of when the first shot was fired, how many shooters there were, how many people died, or who pulled the alarm, Cruz could not have been a lone gunman, which means the narrative and the parthenogenic gun-control crusade have nothing to do with the shooting.
‘Hogg-tying’ the Narrative
The gun control movement derives great impetus from Marjory Stoneman Douglas students, who use their youth, earnestness and passion to sell the narrative. Already the movement has gone international with the Twitter campaign “March for our Lives” taking place not only in all 50 states but in cities like London, Paris, Madrid, Tokyo and Seoul.
The prophet/poster boy for the multitude of true believers is David Hogg. He’s everywhere. He’s the student interviewee of choice for major TV networks and has even shown up on the talk show Real Time with Bill Maher. The problem is that Hogg is a little too conspicuous, a little too scripted, and far too smarmy to be taken seriously as a high-school student. One of his classmates even called him out as a 25-year-old from California who didn’t even belong in school.
How did a slick pseudo-student come to command so much attention? It could not have had anything to do with his conduct during the shooting. While other students were ostensibly in fear for their lives, Hogg was interviewing his classmates about gun control. At about 47:30 in this account by investigative writer Debbie Lusignan, Hogg shoots a selfie video in which he says things that that could not possibly be true and that he could not possibly know.
First, he gives the timestamp 3:13 p.m. and says the shooter is thought to be “Nik Cruz.” For good measure he puts up a pic of Cruz complete with his age in the lower right. He also says he believes this person has been “neutralized.” Neither Hogg nor anyone else at the time could have known Cruz was the shooter or that he had been killed or otherwise subdued. The Broward Sheriff’s Office captured and identified Cruz at 3:41 in the neighbouring city of Coral Springs. How could Hogg have seen 28 minutes into the future, much less have had a pic of Cruz on hand to put in his video?
Evidence that Hogg is phony is so compelling that right after the shooting the Internet teemed with posts denouncing him as a crisis actor. These were so damaging that government media censors Google (YouTube) and Facebook scrubbed the posts from their sites, and pro-narrative apologists went into full attack mode, about which more later. In his defence, though, the charge of crisis actor is off the mark for the simple reason that Hogg couldn’t act to save his life. Hogg’s unnatural cadence, intonation, delivery, vocabulary and general presence is so pretentious and practised that no one could possibly take him seriously. No alleged 17-year-old, no matter how erudite, rehearses propaganda, clichés and catchphrases like a politician. Fortunately, the censors could not catch everything, such as footage of Hogg being caught forgetting his lines.
David Hogg owes his celebrity not to any personal talent (obviously), but to the producers of the Parkland shooting, but this conclusion cannot even be uttered, much less discussed. It would mean that the media narrative and the moral universe it spawned are not absolutely righteous. In the face of that possibility, the faithful engage their denial mechanism and attack any attempt at rational discussion for fear of where it would lead.
The idea that the killing of 17 people could have been engineered for a political purpose is, indeed, monstrous, but being monstrous does not make the idea false. Once the absurdity of the media narrative is accepted, as it must be, the shooting is revealed to be not the cause of the gun-control movement, but a pretext. Stampeding the nation into endorsing gun-control was the real objective, just as the World Trade Centre/Pentagon attack was a pretext for imposing the USA PATRIOT Act on the American public, as I proved in Chapter 11 of my book The Host & The Parasite.
From this perspective, a credible explanation of what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School emerges, one that places responsibility for the shooting at the feet of those who benefit from the gun-control frenzy. Going down this particular rabbit hole will be disturbing for those who are psychologically wedded to the narrative and have been emotionally manipulated into supporting the Children’s Crusade for gun control, but evidence does not cease to exist just because people choose not to see it. Americans must demand justice for the victims and be made aware of those who repeatedly use sacred violence to brainwash and terrorize the nation.