I think it might make me feel better, though.
Following the Austin Film Festival, I boarded the filled-to-capacity plane to return to L.A. The pilot made an announcement that there was a shooting at LAX, so we might not be taking off right then. Then, they ordered us all off the plane, explaining that the situation was still (forgive the pun) up in the air and how waiting for a flight at the airport was a lot nicer than flying around extra to kill time until it was safe to land in L.A. or to end up having to land us somewhere else.
I grabbed lunch and read a book. I did not have a connecting flight or anyone waiting for me, so to me, personally, there was nothing to get stressed about.
Others weren’t so lucky. A few young women were going to fly in for a wedding that day then fly out the next day. After we were waiting in the airport a while to find out what would happen, they realized that they would no longer have a chance to attend the wedding. They decided to go home.
A few hours later, they boarded us back on the plane, saying the situation at LAX was over. Most of the people from earlier were gone. Most of us sat as the sole passenger in whatever three-person seat we took. The only people who sat next to anyone were, seemingly, those who wanted to, who knew their traveling companions.
I found myself wondering what “kind” of lunatic the shooter was. I figured he was a lunatic, yet another lost soul who for whatever combination of religious-political b.s. thought shooting a bunch of strangers who had never done anything to him was a good thing to do because of whatever type of b.s. was running through his mind and, no doubt, encouraged by the hatemongers of the Internet. Half of us don’t even both to vote.
Yes, I thought “he.” Let’s be honest.
But, I wondered, what particular cause did this guy find was just so important to justify murdering strangers?
With which holy book, if any, did he find justification? What group or groups did he blame?
Let’s be honest. They all blame others.
What political conspiracy did he prescribe to and what groups are victimized by this political conspiracy that most of us so-called “sheep” just don’t believe in because we’re too busy numbing ourselves with reality TV and the NFL to notice that aforementioned group or groups are doing whatever really bad things and how much worse it is going to get if people like him and the other people who read and write the things he agrees with don’t do something to put a stop to it?
As nonplussed as I was in Austin, my stress level rose after we landed at LAX. Some vehicles were being let onto the airport and some vehicles were not. The shuttle bus that connects people like me from the airport to Downtown L.A. to where we can take another train, if need be, to our urban homes, were not coming. No matter how long we all stood there waiting.
I began to wonder if it was as insane an idea as I thought it probably was to just walk off of the airport and keep walking until I could get a bus or a cab or something to get me home.
I started walking. I could not remember the configuration of the airport, if I was just going to walk into a highway or if there would be surface roads and bus stops and businesses. It’s funny how you don’t notice things like that when you don’t need to.
I quickly discovered a mass of humanity with the same idea, but with more luggage than I. (I only was in Austin for a week, and I travel light.) Rolling and hauling their suitcases, carrying or pulling the hands of small children, we all walked, like pilgrims toward a holy site.
Then, I noticed them. Another mass of humanity pulled and carried luggage and children onto the airport, realizing that for them, too, motorized transportation was not going to happen, and that they were going to do what they had to do.
So, now we all know, the shooter was a New World Order paranoid case/Alex Jones fan. That was one possibility I considered. I wondered if he was going to be a leftist Occupy-er or a fanatical Islamist (who were once the predominant terror suspects of the American imagination), but who now share the space in our minds where we keep our fears, along side those who bomb recruiting stations and factories where they test products on animals, men who feel sexually rejected by women and hurt by feminism and those opposed to . . . what? Abortion? Gay rights? Immigration? Gas-guzzling SUV’s? Logging?
Yes, I know about Timothy McVeigh, the Black Panthers, the Manson family, the Weather Underground, Neo-Nazis, the KKK and the other chapters of American terror.
But, I can’t help but feel like we’re entering into another chapter now. Mass shootings and bombings happen in quick succession.
Did anyone in the media even notice that LAX is not far from Santa Monica College, where not too long ago, another shooter with another cache of ammo made the same decision to kill a bunch of innocent strangers because of whatever justifications he made that whoever he was blaming for whatever he was blaming them for deserved to die by his hand?
When did we all get so blase about madmen and massacres?