Totally Insensitive Thoughts on Shooters

A thought struck me when I saw a Louisiana mass shooting headline in my news reader today. Actually a bunch of thoughts.

First I thought, "Ugh, not another one."

Then I pragmatically thought, "Well, at least he killed himself so there’s one less crazy person in the world."

Then I got mad at the shooter for not having the courage of his own convictions. I’m generally a "if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime" kind of person. So this shooter annoyed me for "cheating" and avoiding his punishment.

But then I thought the shooter probably didn’t have any convictions, and he probably just wanted attention. Then I got mad at him for just being stupid. What’s the point of getting attention if you’re not going to stick around to see it?

Then I thought that he must have thought that if he killed himself while he thought he was going to get attention, then he’d save himself from the burden of finding out that he really didn’t get any attention, because bloggers like me aren’t putting his name in their blog. So in a way killing himself assured his own success. So then I got mad at him again because now he was cheating by insulating himself from the possibility of failure that the rest of us have to face all the time.

Then I figured maybe I should actually read some details about the case before I make all these snap judgments.

Well, it wasn’t a random shooting spree like the headline led us to believe. It looks like there was a clear cause-and-effect in this case.

Then I got depressed because it’s one of those cases where all of the warning signs were there, but we can’t arrest people in this country for behaving like they might be dangerous. We have to wait for them to commit actual crimes before we can lock them up. Which I guess is one of the down sides of a free society. In this one area, the oppressive dictatorships that squash all human rights probably have us beat.

There should be a lesson to learn from this, but I’m not sure what it would be. I guess if you know someone acting like they might be dangerous, don’t expect the police to protect you. Everyone is ultimately responsible for their own safety.

I’m still mad at the shooter though. Something about murder-suicides particularly infuriates me. It’s like they’re "getting away with it" somehow.

But from a practical standpoint, it’s probably best for society as a whole if the shooter just goes ahead and kills himself. It would just be nice if they did it before shooting anyone.

In Which I Hate Shopping For Clothes

(This rant was inspired by fifteen incredibly frustrating minutes of looking for new clothes on my smart phone.)

I really detest shopping for clothes. I’m probably not alone in that, but I really, really hate it. I’ll wear clothes until they are literally falling apart before I go into a retail clothing store. It’s one of the creepiest environments imaginable, filled with obnoxious kids running around, moms standing in the middle of aisles yelling at their kids, and endless numbers of surfaces teeming with germs.

So you can probably guess how much I love the concept of shopping for clothes online. And yet, here we are at the end of 2013, and this technology is still nowhere near where it should be.

I play a lot of MMORPGs, and one of the biggest features of these games is character creation, and virtual costumes. You can easily choose how your character looks, and dress him or her in shirts, pants, hats, shoes, or whatever with a few clicks of some buttons. WHY CAN’T I DO THAT WHEN I SHOP FOR REAL. Why can’t I see what this shirt looks like next to those pants. It’s almost the year of Back to the Future, Part 2 for god’s sake.

Google says that "virtual dressing rooms" are barely even off the drawing boards, and if they exist, they are for women.

But that’s okay. I’ll just use trial-and-error, because that’s just as efficient, right? So I go to a typical clothing retailer’s web site. I probably have to navigate through the most awful search interface possible to narrow it down to button-down shirts. Maybe I use Amazon, which has marginally better searching abilities. Whatever. Eventually I find a picture of a shirt I like. Then it suddenly turns into advanced calculus and nuclear physics before I can even think about buying. What the hell is a size "3XB"? Is that bigger than "2XB?" What about "2 XLT"? WHAT THE HELL ARE THESE LETTERS AND NUMBERS. THEY SAID I WOULDN’T NEED MATH IN THE REAL WORLD.

Well, maybe I can find some pants. Pants are easier than shirts, right? Oh no they aren’t. What the hell is a "relaxed fit" and how does that compare to a "regular?" Where is the comparison diagram? WHY DOES ANYONE THINK I WOULD KNOW THESE THINGS? And then, as if things couldn’t get any more enragening, why isn’t there a 38×31? This isn’t my local K-Mart that’s been picked over like carcasses in the desert. This is the INTERNET! IT HAS EVERYTHING. MAKE ME A 38X31!

I heard about a place called Trunk Club from a conveniently-placed advertisement right at the start of the CBS Evening News podcast. It sounds like a gift from the gods. Until you dig down to find out how much the clothes cost. But then I remember how much I hate buying clothes and how bad clothing web sites are, and I think that maybe paying two or three times the amount I normally pay for clothes is a bargain. Perhaps it just might save me from having a stroke.