Forget the Wicked; Celebrate the Heroes

 
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Chris Mintz, a man whose name we all should know, via his family’s GoFundMe page.

Some months back, Steven Pinker made the insightful (if somewhat obvious) observation that the simplest way of gaining attention, fame, and glory is to murder others in a sensational fashion. As this is not terribly difficult to do, it should be of little surprise that a handful of people will turn schools and other public places into temples where the innocent are sacrificed to a god of narcissism. The wonder of it is that it does not happen more often.

Via the Wall Street Journal, the latest spree murder has spurred a renewed effort to extirpate the murder’s name, identity, and motivations from from discussion in the press:

[Douglas County, Oregon] Sheriff Han­lin is one of a growing num­ber of U.S. law-en­force­ment officials who are actively avoid­ing nam­ing the sus­pects in mass shoot­ings, not­ing that many cite prior killers as in­spi­ra­tion and seem to be mo­ti­vated by a de­sire for in­famy.

“I will not give him the credit he prob­a­bly sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act,” Sheriff Han­lin said on Thurs­day. When Ore­gon authorities officially disclosed the identity of the 26-year-old gunman Friday evening, it was done briefly, and in writing.

There is some merit to the idea: Spree killers often take a keen (often, obsessive) interest in their predecessors’ actions; Their crimes often take place in clusters that suggest a copycat effect; And many of them leave behind manifestos that attempt to explain and justify their perceived grievances. Denying them the fame they seeks seems, on its face, like a laudable, decent, and practical thing to do.

Unfortunately, such a strategy is unlikely to work. First, most of the victims are likely to be normal, unexceptional people whose normal, unexceptional lives are severely handicapped in the contest for our attention; it’s simply not going to work to declare them as interesting as their killer. Relatedly, even if a MSM blackout somehow did work, the information would still exist and likely attract the paranoid attention of those who seek to follow in the killer’s footsteps. Third, sometimes the killer’s identity and motivations are germane to public discussion.

There is, however, one partial solution that is both emotionally satisfying and whose effects would be overwhelmingly positive: play-up the heroes whenever possible, and as much as truth will permit. Chris Mintz — a single dad and Army veteran who blocked Christopher Harper-Mercer’s advance last week and took several bullets for his troubles — should be feted and toasted from the White House to every city hall, selectmen board, sporting event, and church in the nation. He should never have to buy a beer or a meal again in his life and “What would Chris Mintz have done?” should nag at anyone in crisis with pretensions to honor.

That evil people will leverage their wickedness toward posthumous fame and attention is largely beyond our control. How we treat our heroes, however, is not. We should celebrate them, in no small part to encourage others to act as they did.

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  1. Brandon Shafer Coolidge
    Brandon Shafer
    @BrandonShafer

    Chris Mintz is what is best about masculinity. Unfortunately now we have women’s studies programs trying to tell us what masculinity should look like, predictably its not anything like masculinity.

    • #1
  2. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Bet Mintz does not get an invitation to the White House. After all, what is taking five bullets for your classmates compared to the really meaningful stuff which gets you a White House invite – like taking apart a forty-year-old clock and putting it in a pencil box.

    Seawriter

    • #2
  3. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Agreed. I’m amazed Mintz came through!

    Also, let’s not forget the 10 Christians who bravely chose to die rather than deny their loyalty to God.

    • #3
  4. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Brandon Shafer: Chris Mintz is what is best about masculinity. Unfortunately now we have women’s studies programs trying to tell us what masculinity should look like, predictably its not anything like masculinity.

    Agreed, but the best (least-awful?) aspect to that brand of feminism is that it’s in direct opposition to reality. That’s a major handicap.

    • #4
  5. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Seawriter:Bet Mintz does not get an invitation to the White House. After all, what is taking five bullets for your classmates compared to the really meaningful stuff which gets you a White House invite – like taking apart a forty-year-old clock and putting it in a pencil box.

    I normally abhor these petitions, but I think an exception is called for.

    And his medical fund is here.

    • #5
  6. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since last week’s shooting, specifically regarding gun violence and how to stop it.  A lot of my thinking surrounds Mr. Mintz and his heroic actions.

    I asked my wife “How would things have been different if Mintz had been carrying a concealed pistol, been full trained in its use (I have no idea what he did in the Army), and instead of blocking the door he gunned the shooter down, saving many lives in the process?”

    My wife wisely made this observation: “We’d have never heard about it.  The media would have blacked out the entire incident, because it wouldn’t have fit their narrative.”

    She’s right.

    • #6
  7. Paul Dougherty Member
    Paul Dougherty
    @PaulDougherty

    The White House could check with Mr. Mintz and see if he is free to fit in a visit from President Denali. (You know, Denali is Athabaskan for “The Great One” or “The High One”)

    Sarcasm off.

    • #7
  8. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Thanks, Tom.  I hadn’t known about the fund.

    • #8
  9. Brandon Shafer Coolidge
    Brandon Shafer
    @BrandonShafer

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Brandon Shafer: Chris Mintz is what is best about masculinity. Unfortunately now we have women’s studies programs trying to tell us what masculinity should look like, predictably its not anything like masculinity.

    Agreed, but the best (least-awful?) aspect to that brand of feminism is that it’s in direct opposition to reality. That’s a major handicap.

    Perhaps, but that only slows them down.  I would say the dear colleague letter from the DOE to Colleges and the 1 in 5 women meme, are a direct result of this influence.

    • #9
  10. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    My friend has been listening to podcasts on Roman History, and we were talking about the practice of damnation of memory.  It might well be valuable here.

    A spree killer like this will be denied a burial.  Cremate him, and send his ash down the sewer.  Officially rename him something like Nameless Worthless #####, with a unique serial number attached.  These killers need to know that they will be treated like vermin.

    • #10
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