There’s something disturbing cropping up around the story of the Texas mall shooter. People keep saying that what we hear about the shooter from the media can’t be true because it’s too inconsistent.
This makes me want to ask, have you actually met any people lately? Or do you interact solely with curated social media profiles anymore? People are inconsistent. Unexpected things happen. Life is complicated, and if that’s too scary, grow up.
I have no idea what’s true in the mall shooting situation. But I do know that expecting life to arrange itself into a simple, clean, straightforward story and pouting when it doesn’t is the favorite cope of first-level people. “This is too confusing for my brain, so it must be fake” is their standard mode of operation. The problem can never lie inside themselves. It’s always somewhere out there.
One thought on “Clean Story”
This used to bother me. But I’ve since been involved in a couple of events that made the news, where I had a pretty clear view of things firsthand, and I was able to read the news coverage from various sources. It doesn’t bother me anymore. In one case the event was simply so huge, so catastrophic, that complete news coverage– including accurate numbers– wasn’t possible. One could wish there had been more news coverage, particularly in the national media, but… natural disasters aren’t sexy enough. In the other case, the news articles were brief and somewhat incoherent because there were children involved, and the reporters were being decent human beings and shielding the family from the gawking curiosity of the public.
Now, any time I read a story that seems like it should have more detail and it involves death or crime… I ask myself “were there kids involved in this?” because there are official and unofficial rules about that, and following those rules often leaves giant gaping holes in a story. Like, sometimes that blurb about an accident or a drug bust doesn’t make any sense because somewhere in that story, out of your sight, a four-year-old was taken into custody by child welfare, or three kids had to be interviewed by police to find out what happened, and then handed over to their grandparents who’ll be taking care of them now.
Even if there weren’t kids… geez. Interview four friends about the birthday party you all attended yesterday, and you’ll get four different accounts.
A clean story, where everybody agrees about all the details, and all the details make sense, is one that was manufactured.