What is it with certain guys?
They live in a fantasy world chiefly centered on themselves as super heroes right out of the comic books. Pow! Bang! Thump! They go through life strewing havoc in the name of heroism. Everything from killing JFK to 9/ll-style jihad.
Who the hell do they think they are?
Snowden thinks he knows better than anyone else what is good for me and my fellow citizens as to our privacy and our safety. We never asked him to make this call. We ask our elected officials to do that. Our approach is called democracy. Snowden's approach is called anarchy.
Zimmerman thinks he's a one-man "police" department with the vigilante duties of spotting and then killing "suspicious-looking" people on the basis of their race and their hoodies. The citizens of his area didn't ask him to follow and accost the Martin boy he shot to death. In fact, the policewoman on Zimmerman's 911 call advised him to back off. But Zimmerman persisted in pursuing and then confronting young Martin and now has the chutzpah to claim self-defense for killing the boy. He wants us to believe that his round mound of a self was hurtled to the ground by a skinny 17-year-old. Unlike the White Queen in "Alice", I can't believe six impossible things before breakfast nor even one as late as supper time.
What is it in our society that nurtures the Zimmermans and Snowdens and the long list of their predecessors? From the assassins of Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, and JFK, the line stretches all the way back to John Wilkes Booth shooting Lincoln and then yelling, "Thus perish tyrants." They all thought they were hot stuff and would be famous heroes. They were wrong about that. Even though the South had hated Lincoln, it couldn't embrace Booth as a martyr. It was paying too dear a price for the loss of Lincoln and the snuffing out of his compassion. And sneaks who shoot men from the rear are not in the Southern style.
We owe immense national heartbreak to a long line of little men, most actually small in stature though this mattered only to them. All of them were "losers" but chiefly in their own estimation. America insists that anyone who isn't a super hero or otherwise "famous" is a loser. And these dumb guys believed that. They couldn't stand to be "just ordinary". They didn't know that there are no ordinary people. Every human is extraordinary. We writers know that. That's why we write fiction. Shakespeare knew that. So did Chaucer. And great literature begins with that insight, as does most art and religion.
Is it a male thing? The fear of being unfamous? Why this dreadful need to be a top dog?
We had better figure out how not to be so competitive a society because, at its extreme, it breeds very dangerous men. And not just the "losers" like the Zimmermans and Snowdens, but also the guys who "win" in business by knowingly producing dangerous products or by heedlessly polluting our world. Or by selling goods in America that were made in a factory where a thousand people have now perished in a fire because of "cost-cutting".
How much heartbreak can we stand? How bad are we going to feel if Snowden's massive leaks cause another 9-11?
After all, it won't be happening in Gotham City. It will be happening in our real world.
Deliver us, we pray, from the little men in masks of arrogance, caped as they are in self-righteousness, who think they are rescuing us. And tell them no one but an idiot believes in heroes who wear their underpants on the outside of their clothes.