Saturday, January 29, 2011

Anti-neighborly Americans

Version 0.2

This is actually a combined reaction to some news and reading. The news was the recent spate of shootings in America. All of them involved the police at some point, but I was most impressed by the ones that started out with shooting at police. In particular, I was struck by the case of the armed lunatic who apparently walked into police station and managed to shoot four policemen (actually starting with a policewoman) before going out in a blaze of non-glory.

The reading was another passage from Little House on the Prairie. Though I've read a lot of related books, I've never actually read this one (at least since I started keeping records in 1971). It actually comes up in my Japanese study, so I'm only getting it second hand through the translation. However, the thing that struck me about it was not so much the independent streak as the dislike of neighbors and the selfishness. Probably some contribution from The Selfish Gene, too, but I plan to write more about that in my book review blog...

What it made me realize is that many people came to America for bad reasons. Yes, many of them had positive reasons like ambitions and dreams and a love of freedom as they imagined it existed in America, but many of them had bad reasons like disliking their neighbors and relatives or selfishness and greed. As it applied during the period of rapid growth in America, it meant that there were many small and rapidly growing families spreading across the country--families of people who basically didn't like the neighbors wherever they came from.

It drove a lot of expansion across America, killed a lot of Native Americans, and produced a lot of new Americans, but now there's no place for them to go. Too bad they still hate their neighbors, eh?

So they go nuts and shoot people or various other craziness. Now I'm reminded of the guy who flew his plane into the IRS building in Austin about a year ago...

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As a blogger from before there were blogs, I've concluded what I write is of little interest to the reading public. My current approach is to treat these blogs as notes, with the maturity indicated by the version number. If reader comments show interest, I will probably add some flesh to the skeletons...