Last week we talked a lot about how we register the experience of existing in public differently now in the era of weekly slaughter. A little pilot light of anxiety always burning somewhere inside. Then two more mass killings happened over the weekend – a shooting at a mall in Allen, Texas in which eight were killed and seven injured and a car attack at a migrant shelter in Brownsville, Texas in which another eight were killed and ten injured.
What at long is to be done?
Alex Coker on Fox News had an idea.
“Just like General Mattis said, be polite and professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet."
No. Fuck you. I will not do that. I refuse to think like that. I will be aware of my surroundings. I will not take any unnecessary risks or instigate any stupid confrontations but I will not give in to that way of thinking. It's that exact sentiment that has brought us to this point of regular hair trigger shootings over nothing. What has made so many of us what I called the other day "armed and aggrieved with pressure-cooked propagandized brains perpetually on the verge of combusting."
That is no way to live. Your soul is already dead at that point. Looking at life through the threat assessment lens of a Terminator. No thank you. I am instead going to continue to be normal.
Other than that I don't have much new to add to the circular discussion that goes on after every notable mass shooting at this time. I think this chunk from CBS News about a man named Steven Spainhouer who rendered aid to the victims at the mall shooting covers about everything I would want to convey anyway:
"I never imagined in 100 years I would be thrust into the position of being the first first responder on the site to take care of people," he shared. "The first girl I walked up to was crouched down covering her head in the bushes, so I felt for a pulse, pulled her head to the side and she had no face."
Spainhouer said he also found a child, who survived while covered by his protective mother who had been killed.
"When I rolled the mother over, he came out. I asked him if he was OK and he said, 'My mom is hurt, my mom is hurt.' So rather than traumatize him, I pulled him around the corner sat him down and he was covered from head to toe...like somebody poured blood on him."
Spainhouer said what he witnessed Saturday will haunt him for the rest of his life.
"No one can see what we saw today and not be affected by it," he said. "It's not a situation I would wish upon anybody, it's just unfathomable to see carnage."
And then there was this after the car attack:
Brownsville has long been an epicenter for migration across the U.S.-Mexico border, and it has become a key location of interest for next week’s end to pandemic-era border restrictions known as Title 42. The Ozanam shelter is the only overnight shelter in the city and manages the release of thousands of migrants from federal custody.
Maldonado said the center had not received any threats before the crash, but did afterward.
“I’ve had a couple of people come by the gate and tell the security guard that the reason this happened was because of us,” Maldonado said.
I don't know. Fuck it. Maybe I will give in to the darkness. Maybe all of this is not worth saving. Maybe we're not worth saving.
Down below for paid subscribers there's a new short story from me. Who gives a shit I guess.
Speaking of Nazis and horrifying violence I watched this over the weekend. It's a very impressive directorial debut – almost all done in one single shot – but I'm not entirely sure I would recommend it. I'll certainly never watch it again.
In much more enjoyable film news I went on the very fun Soundtracker pod to talk about what is probably me favorite movie ever The Big Lebowski. We had a couple of beers. Couple of laughs. Our fucking troubles are over. Check it out.
Thanks to Christopher Harris for the nice review of A Creature Wanting Form.
It’s not quite poems, not quite short stories, not quite nonfiction. I read it slower than I read most things because it seems like Luke’s goal here is to make us think about things we spend most of our days trying very hard not to think about, and so I only wanted to read a few of the pieces each day so as to not think about them too much. David Berman and Donald Barthelme come to mind. You won’t find a single comma, but you will find quotes like “The Bible was basically a Google doc where everyone had editing permission turned on” and “This is how you know this piece is kind of barely disguised non-fiction because if you made up so many overdoses in a row in a short story it would seem fake.”
Get this book!!! It's excellent. But please don’t come at me after reading it saying, “Oh, man, this was too depressing!” There are things you read to fluff you up and make you think everything is wonderful, and okay, I understand why folks need that.
But there are other things you read to feel connected to the thornier parts of life. Knowing that other people can put into words how it feels to be worried and heartsick makes us feel less alone. This is one of those.
What else? What else?
It was my birthday the other day and M and I went out for drinks and to a concert in the city for the first time in a while and it was very nice. Please enjoy this rare picture of me smiling.
If you missed the last Hell World it was a lot better than this one.
Ok here's a new short story by me below. You'll have to be a paid subscriber to read it. Otherwise see you around man. Try not to get gun massacred if you can.