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Sunday, September 12, 2010

The war of the sexes, Part III

(The trailer where the killings took place)

Since the recent theme of this blog has been the war between the sexes, a news item popped up yesterday which seems appropriate to comment on. This was in the UK's Daily Mail yesterday:

Husband enraged over how his wife cooked his breakfast eggs kills her and four others in Kentucky shotgun rampage

A man facing eviction over his terrible temper became so enraged by how his wife cooked his eggs that he killed her, his stepdaughter and three neighbours with a shot gun before turning the weapon on himself.
Dressed in his pyjamas, Stanley Neace, 47, went on the killing spree in a trailer park in Jackson, eastern Kentucky. The massacre happened at around 11.30am local time.

Neighbours in the roadside trailer park said Neace stormed across the lawns of several homes and fired dozens of shots from a 12-gauge pump shotgun.

Killing someone over how one's eggs are prepared is, of course, as stupid as killing someone over an X-rated DVD. But I'm not going to make a silly little joke as I did two posts ago and talk about the importance of a good breakfast or somesuch. I actually have a point to make.

This story will undoubtedly provoke all sorts of knee jerk reactions about "trailer trash" and America being a gun-crazy society and how horrible men are. All of which will contain some truth, as well as be overly simplistic. What is unquestionably and completely true is that some people are just not fit to live in the company of other human beings. Stanley Neace was such a guy. He should have been sequestered away a long time ago. He was about to be kicked out of the trailer park for his bad temper; he should have been kicked out of society as well.

There was a movie which came out a while back, called "Minority Report," starring Tom Cruise. The idea of the movie was that the authorities could tell who was going to commit a crime ahead of time and would arrest them before they committed the crime. This was supposed to represent a futuristic nightmare, where innocent people could be arrested without having committed any crime.

Such a concept, of course, goes against every tenet about democracy we've ever been taught. And how could you possibly predict the future? Obviously, you can't. But with a case like Stanley Neace, the future -- especially in retrospect -- seemed predictable enough. And he ought to have been put somewhere where he couldn't have harmed people. If he had been, his five victims would be alive today.

But how do you institute a process like that without allowing for the possibility of abuse?

It's pretty much impossible. Which is, in a way, too bad.

Before they actually find a way to do that, they will probably find a way to alter such behavior at the genetic level. That would make for a better, if slightly more boring, society.

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