by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
TV Tropes, a delightful encyclopedia of fiction ideas and clichés, came up with a term to describe those scenes where a character senses something in the air and warns that dark times are ahead, or that “something wicked this way comes,” but never gives any real specifics about the coming danger. They call the trope, “vagueness is coming.”
It’s hard to begrudge anybody for feeling that sense of ominous foreboding after this weekend’s twin shootings. …
… Politicians may know they’re being hyperbolic when they throw around terms like “betrayal,” “great danger,” “totalitarian,” and “dictatorial”; but not everyone in their audiences understands. There is no shortage of Americans who completely believe in an organized “great replacement” plot to wipe out white America through mass immigration. There is no shortage of Americans who completely believe President Trump is establishing concentration camps and will never peacefully relinquish power. It wouldn’t take much for some angry, emotionally or mentally troubled, isolated extremist to cast themselves in their own heroic narrative, striking down the evil that so obviously threatens the country.
The shooters seem to have a peculiar and toxic combination of narcissism and self-loathing. Narcissism manifests in their self-absorption and absolute disregard for how their actions affect everyone around them. Self-loathing, because they know their rampage will end when they are shot or subdued and on their way to life in prison, and this strikes them as the best outcome for themselves.