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A German lullaby
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-03-12 09:53:11
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And it did happen again and this time in Germany, with more victims - fifteen, the news say, including the boy that held the gun. The question remains, who put this gun in his hand and who triggered it! The answer is unknown and we are all waiting for the specialists and profilers to tell us what is going on; in the meantime nobody has given any answer to what happened in Finland a few months ago and in the States before that. The only fact is that young people are armed and are ready to shoot-to-kill in the places that should represent the dreams and the hopes of everybody, and they are doing that against the people who share their dreams and hopes.

A few months ago I wrote an article about what happened in Finland and hours after the hit in Germany, with the news bombing us with more information all the time, the only thing I can sense is that the main reasoning remains the same: there is a generation growing-up lacking an identity. Please don’t think that I make the mistake to compare generations, this generation is just different because they live in a different reality from my generation, for example - and again I’m saying that without judging - it is just different without that meaning that it is better or worst.

Germany goes through a huge crisis, perhaps the worst since the period between the two world wars. Unemployment has reached the same levels with the period Hitler was storming German politics with …solutions and the gap between the rich and poor is like a canyon nowadays. Something we actually often miss, the collapse of the Wall didn’t mean the end of problems, actually it was just the beginning and covering it under the happiness of unification didn’t mean that the problems disappeared, they just built up. The new Germany, the Germany of the 21st century, is facing a serious identity crisis balancing between the divided Germany of the Cold War, the Germany of WWII, the Germany of the industrial miracle of the '60s and '70s and the Germany of the two speeds at the end of the 20th century. In the middle is a new generation that tries to understand what is bad and what is good.

Using the words bad and good I’m not referring to anything metaphysical, but the confusing reality of the end of the 20th century for this generation. Think of it, from one day to the other the Wall collapses, actually the way it happened was painless and harmless yet a shock for all of us who had created endless myths about the mighty Soviet Bear; and the West Germans faced their own brothers but not exactly brothers to be the poor relatives nobody wants home for the party. At the same time, the stories and the propaganda of the evil Soviet regime becomes gigantic, turning the people to the other side, exactly the opposite. Neo-Nazi parties and groups are illegal in Germany but that doesn’t stop them increasing in numbers and members and the hate incidents become more dramatic every day. Oddly, the evil and bad guys compared to the other evil and bad guys don’t look so bad anymore and a young generation that sees dreams and hopes disappear in a world where only the few can make money – money nowadays is the only way to succeed – stand unable to react, numb and confused.

Finally, population movements and immigration became the nightmare, this generation feels like it is descended and neglected by a world that just doesn’t have time for them. And then you get a boy confused and most likely influenced from some fanatics with a gun. How did he find the gun? This is something for the police to find out and for the state to take the necessary measures and I said the same when the same happened in Finland without ignoring the fact that if somebody wants to find a gun they will find it legally or illegally. The point is that we must find the way to give to these kids their missing identity and the responsibility is collective. We all have our share. The problem is the same like it was a few years ago with the hooliganism it has just evolved and the need for a solution and action has become more urgent.

When you read on the news that fifteen people died, when you read analysis and statistics, when you deal with profiles and police investigation remember that the gunman was a seventeen year-old boy! Remember that he was an ordinary boy with good reports from the school and that he loved tennis. Remember that this boy was just like any seventeen year-old boy and instead of trying to blame him try to understand what led him and most importantly who armed his hand. Don’t try to analyze what was his relationship with his mother because he killed eight girls it was pour confidence and it has nothing to do with all the televised circumstantial psychologists, it was a seventeen year-old boy full of anger of a society that was deaf to his agony and try to think who triggered this frustration and transformed it onto murder.

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Emanuel Paparella2009-03-12 11:27:49
Indeed Thanos, we have seen this movie before but still nothing has been learned. I suppose there is no time to reflect and learn anything. Once again, we will look at the symptoms and ignore the causes. You wrote an article on November 8 2007 which the above echoes. I wrote a comment under it which perhaps also bears repeating verbatim. (Continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2009-03-12 11:28:23
Emanuel Paparella 2007-11-08 21:52:37
Indeed Mr. Kalamidas, I agree that ignorance is partly responsible for the misguided actions of of some of today's youth and that we are all partly responsible for their deviant actions. Which bring us back to the discussion in your October 24 article "Something is Changing." As I remember I pointed out in a comment that something has been changing for a while now in Western civilization. All we need to do is remember our history. This is what I wrote, in part:

Disturbing phenomenon, indeed. Let us however imagine that those young people were sporting the symbol of the sickle and hammer on their skin, would that mean that they had read Marx, Lenin and Trotsky and were now knowledgeable committed Communists? I kind of doubt it. Those young people probably don’t have the foggiest who those people might be and even less about their ideology. In any case, would assessing who was the worst monster, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, Pinochet, etc, etc, determine whether or not a symbol ought to be admired or outlawed? One of Jung’s greatest insights was hat Man makes symbols but equally true is the fact that symbols make Man. So, one possible interpretation of the disturbing phenomenon here examined is that of Dostoyevsky’s in “Notes from Underground”: place Man in a wholly deterministic nihilistic universe and he will blow it up just to prove that he is free...

Indeed, nobody is innocent. Only the naive and the ignorant will say so. All there is left now is to sympathize with the victims. As Mr. Butcher has well mused; one of them is the young man who was victim of his distorted world view.

Emanuel Paparella2009-03-12 11:37:51
P.S. By the way, the name of your article was "To be born a Finn." As mentioned, the actors and the venue is the same but the drama and its plot are the same.

Emanuel Paparella2009-03-12 11:39:14
Errata: are different but...

AP2009-03-13 00:00:56
We know who armed him and where he got his gun. He didn't have to go far as he got it... at home, from his father's gun collection.
His father is a gun club member and has a "legal" collection of guns at home.

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