The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Sunday, 01 June 2014]

Damnatio memoriae

We should forget the names of our mass murderers.

Once again a young man has gone off his rocker and murdered a bunch of strangers in cold blood.

It’s disgusting and disheartening and worst of all it’s endemic. For decades now young men have, for whatever reason, decided that killing as many other people as possible and then capping it off by taking their own lives is the best way for them to deal with whatever thing is happening to or inside them—going out in a blaze of “glory”.

It’s sickening and hideous and worst of all it seems we as a society are getting used to it. Which is completely unacceptable. Time after time a young man takes to the streets to slay whatever demons are in his head and we are shocked and horrified. And then we talk and wring our hands. And then another one follows. And another. And we talk. And it’s numbing in its horror.

It’s clear that the one issue that connects all these sprees is young men. Young men and their egos.

I do think it all boils down to ego—you’re being kept down by your teachers and parents and especially the women who won’t let you make sexy time with them and you need to feel powerful, must feel powerful and grabbing a weapon and wasting people is such a shortcut to power—you will literally have the power of life or death. You, the guy who can’t get a girl to let you touch her boobs, you now have the ultimate power.

And you will be remembered throughout history. No more sobbing and jerking off in your room after your parents go to bed: You’re a star! You will be remembered through the ages. All the girls who wanted nothing to do with you will see your picture on the news and in the paper. You are immortal now.

And that’s what we need to put an end to—the immortality. It serves no purpose for us to know the name and picture of the latest asshole to go on a spree. The Romans had a practice they called Damnatio Memoriae where a traitor’s name would be stricken from the record and his name would then effectively be lost from history. That’s what I propose for these kinds of men: Let’s forget them. Not their crimes and especially not their victims, but them. You go on a killing spree and your name becomes “Asshole 25” or whichever number we’re up to. Since we do need a unique way to refer to them, let it just be a number. After “Asshole 25” comes “Asshole 26”, etc. We will not use your real name, and we will never show your picture. You will get no immortality—only your family will mourn you and the rest of us will never have any idea who you were.

This is as it should be. If your only legacy is that you murdered a bunch of innocents, nobody should ever know your name. Only that you were an asshole.

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