mon 04 may 2009 02:59:09 witte de withsstraat
the egomania of suicide
richard karst tates died friday from brain damage, a day after he tried to drive his black suzuki swift into queen beatrix's bus in apeldoorn. he missed because he and his car were already too badly damaged from plunging through the metal security barriers. he lost control and his wreck slammed into a monument on the corner.
there was an immediate furor in the media about "how could a thing like this happen? who's responsible, and how? was the security inadequate?" and i'm shaking my head thinking heh? the attack did not end up "happening" per se. tates missed his bus. security was at least that adequate. but in the end there is no real security. and i'm still surprised at how few people are willing to openly acknowledge that.
me, i had been hoping the guy would survive his injuries, so that maybe we could get him to answer the great towering question:
"dude. what the fuck were you thinking?"
instead, now we have lots of speculation about the guy's ostensibly sorry life, and some general philosophizing about random explosive fits of violence. tates' landlord says tates always paid on time, but then lost his job as a security guard so he was gonna have to move out of the house. just like millions of other people in the world. reporters write that tates was kinda lonely, got picked on, wasn't very popular with the opposite sex. just like maybe half the people i know.
so that doesn't tell me much. i want to know what crazy people actually think, and i can't.
"een moderne samenleving is wel kwetsbaar voor extreem geweld door ontspoorde individuen," is the conclusion of some sociologists in saturday's volkskrant: a moden society is indeed vulnerable to extreme violence by derailed individuals. that's true of course, and in a way it plugs right into what i wrote in the first issue of mentalshoes.com about how we're all at each other's mercy. primitive societies too are vulnerable to outbursts by their derailed. what's "modern" is the increasing power we each have. "karst t" as they call him here, had the technology (a suzuki) to quickly take six innocents with him.
tonight i was watching a docu on belgian tv where several young pakistani taliban students talked about how it was a good idea to go blow up unbelievers in suicide attacks -- as long as god grants it, and they get their dad's permission first. the woman reporter tried feebly to get them to explain why it was a good idea, but all she got was basically a playback of their indoctrination. these kids are recruited young from the desperate poor, whose lives may seem to have no meaning. the reporter didn't have time to force them to think and speak for themselves. in fact she kept getting warned to leave off filming wherever she was at.
my desire for people to really, thoughtfully account for their actions is going unfulfilled. i'm kinda getting used to it, but i'm still dissatisfied. shrugging doesn't quite do it for me.
i think suicide attackers are on a total ego trip. they just can't see it. especially, and most ironically, the ones who offer their lives in seeming humility and subservience to the will of god: they talk about what awaits them on judgment day, they even have songs about it. god will make their bodies whole again, and interview them about why they did what they did, and they'll tell god they did it for him. and they cannot hear how utterly egomaniacal their words sound. god's going to take a second to ask you why you wanted to kill a bunch of innocent people? no, idiot. it's me, ikke ikke, who wants to know: what the fuck were you thinking?
somehow i doubt that karst tates was on any deeply religious mission when he tried to crash into beatrix. but unless somebody finds his farewell video i guess we'll never know.