Killing.

Killing. As long as humans have been drawing images onto surfaces and telling stories, killing has had a major role. Couched as conquering, demonized as cowardly, chief medium for reasons, spectacle of events—taking life abides at the summit of narrative, true and fictive. For honor, power, revenge, to defend or defy, to get or keep, betrayals, madness, accidents—killing, killing, killing. “Sing O Muse of the rage of Achilles.” It’s not simply death and dying. That happens anyway, naturally. Killing ends what should go on. And someone, at the very least some-one, is responsible. At least we presume so. Perhaps it’s complicated and interwoven and historically contextualized and part of a systemic breakdown of whatever. Perhaps it was an accident. Maybe on purpose. Strangers? Neighbors? Foreign invaders? Peace keepers. Perhaps a young man becomes scarred and unable to cope with his fears, his rage, his strong desire to do something that actually feels like something. Something real. Put a gun in his hands and provoke him a little, tempt him a little. Alienate him. Close his mind in the name of opening it. School him. Church him. The sons and the next-door neighbors and the kids who don’t do what everybody else does, the one’s untreated, tormented, the one’s finding ever new ways to hate ever more things, the little sweet babies that hold and shine eternity in their eyes grow up and into a violent world wherein killing is the ultimate resolution and topic. Perhaps it even becomes a numbers game. Killing, killing, killing. We, as a violent society that claims to hate killing while being simultaneously and endlessly entertained by it, of course, despise them and name them monsters and continue to walk in the direction we were walking before the spectacular news item distracted us for a minute. Never once—unless, perhaps, something happens to us personally, but even then probably not—do we change directions, walk a different path to a different place. Anyone genuinely curious would wonder why that is. We once knew, or thought we did, why heroes and villains and kings and peasants killed in a story, whether the story was history or histrionic or epic verse or some other mode. Now? Often times we assume we know why, but it’s all getting a bit thin. Our ability to pay attention wanes. They, whoever they are, are wining. On fronts and in ways we can’t even see. Even if a lot of us make a lot of noise, become vegans, recycle, adopt all the homeless dogs and cats in the world, drive Priuses, leave behind religion and become atheists or generically and uniquely spiritual, easily outraged by any number of socio-political issues that remind us of how much “better” we are (morally and intellectually) than most of the other people we’re forced to live among, even if we do all that and a thousand other things and yet change nothing about the way we entertain ourselves, relate to flesh and blood others, judge without knowing—or really caring—then of course the factory systems of the age of the world picture staring violence and death will only continue to mold and shape us into little systems plugged into, but in no way necessary to, the larger systems of power, which, if the palimpsest is carefully pealed back and each trace is slowly investigated leads us to the realization that the condition in which we are all inextricably caught is really greed. There’s no longer even the possibility of a fair hierarchy or liberatory –ism. Killing, killing, killing, is tied—bound—to the unscrupulous and uninhibited acquisition of wealth. True here, there and just about everywhere. Though if a way out remains, it is elsewhere.

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