my expanded response to a post in livejournal:
"never again" after the holocaust was a call for action in the face of future storms of intolerance and genocide. there was no prevention of—or even meaningful reaction to—cambodia, bosnia, rwanda, timor-leste until too late. that leaves me none too sanguine for important, timely reaction to future atrocities-in-the-making.i continue to think of atwood's the handmaid's tale as prophecy; will we ever turn it into imaginative fiction?
yesterday's terrorist act was a supremacist's wet dream: the killing of an african-american man during an assault on what was perceived to be a jewish target. we treat hate-speech and hate-action and hate-advocacy by white americans differently: white americans funded terror in ireland and britain with impunity, incitement is preached over the airwaves by white demagogues with nary a reaction (or, worse—and encouragingly—flaccid hand-wringing), perpetrators of terrorist action in the united states are given free-reign, unless, of course, their skin color, ethnicity or religion place them outside the so-called mainstream. you can be an aged white man with murder on your mind and a shotgun in your hands and walk through the capital city of this nation and no one will touch you; i regularly see three and four police cars pulled up at a traffic stop for a non-white driver.
the american love affair with individuality—and national disinterest in community and collective vision and action—and our phallic fetishization of firearms make yesterday's crime, as well as wichita and columbine, inevitable.