Day 126 / Laundromat Dead Eyes

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I am sitting in a laundromat. Yes, it is glamorous and no you're not invited. 

I hope I haven't offended you. All I meant to say is that currently this place runs on a first come first serve basis and since it's currently full of sketchy people right now you'd be out of luck if you showed up.  

I frequented these types of places all the time back when I was I was running around the country as a student and then later when I lived in Toronto as a comic. I'm not sure I've ever had an entirely enjoyable experience at one of these place. But then I've never had a gun drawn on me either which is always a good sign you've done well out in the world. They say with the numbers involved these types of events are few and far between and I take great if not complete comfort in that. I take comfort also in always have an escape plan. 

Currently that plan would involve me waiting until the armed psychopath entered the laundromat and started making his way casually around. I say casually because that's how psychos seem to move once they've started a rampage. They just saunter around and spray bullets, exactly the way you would expect a bear would act if he was let loose inside. 

But more on that later. 

I would then make a beeline for, well the door, I suppose, if it was available. But if not, the bathroom. It's got on of those annoying locks that require a quarter and I figure if I at least had the quarter at the ready I could insert and get in there before drawing any attention. He may know I'm in there, but then he'll have to either blast his way in, an unfortunate propostion for the both of us, though more for me certainly, or put a quarter in himself. 

And I'm willing to be that a psycho coming into a laundromat on a shooting spree won't think to bring a quarter. In fact, not having quarters might have been the reason he went on the rampage to begin with. Perhaps he was one quarter shy of getting his clothes dried and no one would help him. Add to that he's a homocidal maniac straight out of a Tarantino movie and you've got the exact scenario I've just described. 

So that's my move if it happens. 

Getting back to the bear thing... which relates to the laundromat only in that I had the thought while sitting here thinking about my Jason Borne scenario. I was thinking that the term 'dead eyed' that people have used to describe the look of an predator they'd seen up close in the wild; which is to say a look completely devoid of compassion or feeling, would also accurately describe the look in the eyes you would see from mass shooters from around the world. I know it's a somewhat morbid line of thinking, but I generally tune into the details of these types of news stories given my interest in the human mind. And these stories have been cropping up a lot. 

Add to that the fact that more and more there is viewable footage of these events showing the actual carnage through the eye of a security camera. Videos involving individual shooters or teams just walking up to people and putting bullets in them. No Hollywood conversations or glamorized interactions at all. Just simple executions of life. 

This is the behavior of an agitated predator. I say agitated because even predators in the wild generally must become agitated by a human before attacking with intent to kill. But put that predator in a state of agitation and it will kill without species distinction or hesitation.  And at our core, this is what we are as well. Predators. We've built up an incrediblly rich conscious life since the days when we had to call on these instincts, most of us, but the majority of our meat is a remnant of those savage days. 

You don't get to where we are without having predatory beginnings. 

Our more civilized behaviors are relatively new, evolutionarily speaking, which is to say on the tens of thousands of years scale. Tens of thousands of years of adding rules of conduct so that we could coexist. Those rules refelected our own level of complexity and began evolving even as our budding communities did. 

The evolution of these rules and regulations are what constitutes the shifting zeitgeist of collective cultures. Cultures that grew more and more complex as they interacted and  became interconnected. These rules and and modes of thinking, this shifting zeitgeist of behavior toward each other, is what allowed for a mutually beneficial environment where we don't have to constantly feel we're subjected to the murderous whims of the agitated predators among us. 

To this point we've used the promise of unpleasantness to keep people from acting on this impulse. Unpleasantness manifested in the concept of prison or in certain restrictions to an individual's freedom in this life. Unpleasantness manifested in the ultimate torment of hell, or whatever your equivalent is, in the afterlife. But for people with a growing sense of having nothing to lose, of feeling detached and unrepresented, or worse, having never grown up in an environment that stimulated their inherent sense of compassion at all, the descent into a state of agitated predator becomes much more likely. 

Pockets of disaffected people are becoming whole communities. 

This is a much bigger topic and it feels a little strange to jump into it given the tone I set at the outset. I merely wanted to convey a very real thought I had while eyeing a particular individual in the parking lot as we came in. That thought has itself evolved and I realize this is starting to run long. I will no doubt have more to add to it. As I said, it's an interest of mine. 

Yeesh.   

My clothes are done now. Off I go. Have a great week.

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