Yesterday I published a post which implicitly endorsed David Neiwert's conclusion that the segment of the U.S. rightwing that is most prone to violence -- the doers with guns, not so much the big talkers -- display recognizable personality types:
Neiwert produces a boatload of evidence for his catalogue of common features in the psyches of such dangerous people.
Meanwhile, an Associated Press story making the rounds describes the reflections going on in "national security" circles in the U.S. and Britain in the wake of the "lone wolf" terrorist eruptions at the Boston Marathon and in London. These seem to have involved isolated individuals who acted without being part of any particular network. Existing spook efforts are designed to look for cells and organizations; they don't have an ready-made tactics for the apparent new sort of threat.
The thing is, most of us don't want to live in a society like East Germany where nearly everyone was spying on everyone else under coercion from an all pervasive state. And in our social-media fishbowl, we don't want any authority using its Big Data to assess all of us.
Furthermore, none of us much trust the state to pick the right people to focus on to "protect us" -- people on the right want black, brown, and yellow folks, especially Muslims, stalked by the authorities. I'd like to see someone taking a close look at angry white loud mouths. At least I have that fantasy when I'm not thinking that too many members of too many "law enforcement" outfits resemble the set I feel threatened by.
Maybe we all need to get used the fact that nothing can completely protect us from occasional breakthroughs of the crazy -- but that our society needs an anger management commitment to learn to dial our conflicts down.
What might a national anger management project look like? Interesting question.
Politicians would need to set an example by at least pretending to work for peace and prosperity for all instead of measuring their success by how how well they steer the goods of the nation to their contributors.
And we the people would have to try to aspire that minimum standard in our pols. Sincerity is not required.
It should be worrying that this seems impossible, merely pie-in-the-sky, even when I just attempt the thought experiment.