05 July 2006

Cycle of Violence

Jenius reader Gabriel sent a link about the July 3rd shooting of four young men in the coastal town of Guánica. The four young men were between 19 and 25 years of age. Each was shot at least four times. Three of them died instantly; the fourth died shortly after the shooting.

The alleged--now confessed--killer of these four young men is a business owner from a nearby town, a 41-year old furniture craftsman and the father of a 17-year old daughter.

What do We have so far? Four young men, a young lady and the young lady's father. And bullets. Let's look closer.

The four young men all had rap sheets for drug possession. Three of the four had beaten up the business owner for "defending his daughter." Though no details were offered, one can assume that the young men stepped beyond the boundaries of propriety and the father did what a father should: defend his own. The beating prompted the father to press charges and a hearing was pending at the time of the shooting.

It's worth noting that the young men and the business owner live(d) in neighboring towns and that it was in the young men's town that the shooting occurred. Father and daughter were spending the long holiday weekend camping...in Guánica. Tragedy was certainly not expected. For you see, there were two volleys fired that Monday afternoon.

The first was fired from the car which the young men used to drive onto the seaside campground. They fired at the business owner's daughter. She threw herself to the ground. Her father, returning from buying ice, heard the shots, saw his daughter on the ground and thought she had been shot, maybe killed. Pulling his own gun, he raced to the car and blazed away.

Within a minute, four dead men in a town with only one murder in the past two years. Another "massacre" in a long series. Such is Our hideous violence that even civil wars can't match it.

Let's list some facts and conclusions:

1) The young men were not Boy Scouts. That doesn't mean they deserved killing, but that they were more likely to die as they did. Too many of Our young men are in the same probability range.

2) The business owner followed moral and legal duty: he defended his daughter and he pressed charges after being assaulted. Doing his duty, it can be argued, didn't matter.

3) The young men went looking to kill a girl. They tried to kill her. The only apparent "reason" was to intimidate/punish her father. This is the mentality of the ravenous savage: kill for killing's sake.

4) The father reacted with either courage, savagery or insanity at the thought that his girl was wounded or dead. Personally, I don't blame or praise him at all for reacting as he did. Unless you've been there, you have no idea what it's like and saying "I would do this" or "I wouldn't do that" is fatuous at best and sheer stupidity otherwise. But that won't stop people and so-called "analysts" from spending hours doing what's stupid.

5) The business owner had a license to carry his gun. Any bets as to whether the young men had a license for theirs? Guns are not the issue here, but legality is: an illegal gun is equally as likely to kill you as a legal one. The ultimate difference is always who's holding it.

6) Gun-right and gun-control advocates will use this tragedy for their own purposes. But while they play "gotcha!" with their insipid arguments, the key point of this horror is ignored: Our society accepts this level of violence. Until We change that, arguing about guns is like arguing about "corn or wheat?" while a third of the world starves.

7) A father and daughter, knowing what the situation is, decide to spend the weekend in the same town as their aggressors. Folly? Trust? Näivety? I tend to think it was misplaced trust. They trusted that the young men were somewhat honorable or at least cowed by the charges and pending hearing. They trusted that the crowds would be a safety factor, and that police protection, given the large number of people, would be constant. They trusted that sanity would prevail. But how were they to know? They based their trust on themselves, thinking the world was a lot like them. They were wrong.

8) Three young men committed assault and were to face charges. Four died. Why the fourth one was there is obvious: cowardice. Three had failed to successfully take on both a girl and an "old" man, so a little more "power" was needed. And the fourth young man had to have known what was going to happen and not only lacked the moral fiber to reject doing it, he also lacked the courage to stop it. Cowards roam in packs. Just check out Our legislature.

The news of these deaths was, of course, on the radio, television and every major daily. While eating breakfast with My son at a local (Cabo Rojo) fast-food place, over 20 people came and went. They saw the papers. Many of them were listening to the radio in their cars as they drove up. They interacted with employees, some with familiarity. In almost an hour's worth of early-morning chat, when the news of the day can be bandied freely with the sheen of "novelty," only one person remarked on the story. Only one. The young lady said "I camped last year where those guys were killed." From campground to killing ground and back again. The cycle of violence moves relentlessly on.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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