Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Sunday, October 07, 2012

....and the President of the Immortals, in Aeschylean phrase, had ended his sport with Tyler.

I think the story of Tyler Giuliano's death is the saddest thing I've read for many years. It's also extremely weird, because Tyler's behaviour was so utterly out of character.

It's very easy for British readers encountering a story like this to make disparaging noises about American gun culture, and this-is-what-happens-when-everyone-has-a-gun. While that's true, it's worth imagining what might have happened if a similar scenario had played out in Britain. Suppose a householder had gone out to confront a burglar and had armed himself with a baseball bat or similar blunt instrument. Burglar turns toward bat-wielding citizen and takes a massive whack to the head (because if someone is coming at you with a knife and you're scared, that's what you'll do). The most probable result is the same as for Tyler Giuliano, with the likelihood of massive but non-fatal brain damage rather higher than with a gun. So not much of an improvement. Don't get me wrong, I don't like handguns and I don't like vigilantes, but I can't find it in my heart to criticize Jeffrey Giuliano over this. All I can feel is a desperate sadness and deep confusion as to just what was going on.

As my daughter said when I told her the story (she looked as though she was about to throw up herself), it's just like Rigoletto. (I know what she means, though in the opera only the victim is not morally compromised: it's a pretty nasty opera.)