Narcissism and the Virginia Tech Massacre

Christopher Lasch is reported to have said that narcissism as the signal disorder of contemporary American culture. The cult of celebrity, the marketing of instant gratification, scepticism toward moral codes and the politics of victimhood were signs of a society regressing toward the infant stage.
The more we dwell on rational causes outside the criminal, the more we feed the belief that the chain of events was built on people having "needs" that weren't met. The analysis can be read as absolution from guilt - who can be guilty when they are merely the end effect of a causal chain? The centrality of the criminal in the analysis can create an attraction to just the same type of criminal.
When a crowd is gawking at the mounds of human flesh left after a horrific event, there is a sense that they should be moved on - that their understandable fascination can so easily build into schadenfreude, or worse....
The media need a similar "move on" message. I would hate it to come from another law in a society that is already strangling itself in the fallacious belief that laws can fix every cultural conflict. It should come as an informal but public reaction by a wide range of community leaders and groups. Telling us a million details about the life of the criminal is unhealthy at least and deeply antisocial at worst.

Stephen Digby

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