We walked over to Careys Bay the other day. It was about 15 ºC in the midst of winter, flat calm and really, there are worse places we could have been. New Zealand can be an extremely boring, complacent, apathetic place stocked with cud-munching basics and presided over by the political equivalent of adult cystic acne, but there aren't too many teenage snipers or truck bombers.
I'm perfectly aware that this shit will come; I mean, it's not like we're a stranger to violent fuckwads and their homicidal delusions. The view below looks out toward Aramoana, a small coastal town and the site of a mass shooting by a disturbed local gunman who managed to murder thirteen people, including three kids in 1990. He went to the school down the road from our house.
Young men with few real prospects are a bad risk for any society and this has always been so. We used to thin them out with tribal conflict and incentivise the survivors to confine themselves to discreet familial terrorism with the perks of absolute masculine privilege. Today they're marinated in the toxic expectations of that privilege without explicit routes to its attainment, so they console themselves with punitive porn, mental and physical idleness and existential vacuum and er, yeah. I think we can call off the search for the root cause of all this externalised hostility.
And that is not what the average punter or their administrative masters want to hear. They'd much rather it was evil foreigners, incomprehensible zealots or some other simple psychosocial projectile. Because everybody's mental these days. Junkies, overeaters, cutters, starvers, hoarders, depressives, the anxious, self-loathers, narcissists, cinema snipers- all fucked in the head to one degree or another. As a chronic depressive, I'm mentally ill too so I'm not just shit-talking about other people. You're probably a bit fucked up yourself, or you know someone who is, and we've all been conditioned to expect that to end badly.
It's no coincidence that they're usually sheltered from the blast radius. Their children will enjoy privilege; education, opportunity and access to treatment while everyone else goes on 5-year waiting lists for counselling services.
There are more crazy people than at any other time in history and if mental illness came with a fever rash and bloodshot eyes people would see it for the terrifying pandemic that it is. If we want popped loons to stop shooting at us in shopping centres and joining Islamic State, we will have to commit massive resources to its treatment. But that money and effort will only ever be a fraction of that expended in cleaning up the mess that is our current do-nothing bullshit situation.
Felix agrees. He's a cat jihadi though and his voice is only audible to me when the CIA frees up the frequency and permits me to face north wearing watermelons on both feet.