An Ohio man named Mark Kulis, who was busted for having his house wired up with half a dozen bombs, a terrorist to be precise, has just been committed to 6 months locked up in the nut hatch in the hopes that he can be brought a bit closer to sanity. The hope is that he can at least understand that he has been doing illegal and dangerous things to himself and those around him. And with that understanding, be tried for his crimes in accordance with the law.
This writer is struck by the similarities between this “sovereign citizen” and many others in our world today. It seems that frustration causes people to create alternate realities in their minds, and they live in those fantasylands instead of the world around them. A couple of examples:
Number A: Fox “News” viewers are, most of us have found, living in a dream world – one in which Commander Stuffed Flightsuit won the Global War on Terror, white people are superior, poor people are evil, and Obama is everything bad/nothing good. And you Can. Not. Reach. Them. Not with logic, not with facts, not even with what is happening to themselves and their children. No, the echo chamber has captured their minds, and they cannot absorb anything from outside of the Cones of Silence in which they dwell.
Letter 2: Vladimir Putin and his Petersburg Posse have convinced themselves that their lives suck because of the collapse of several Russian empires, and that the way to un-suck said lives is to create a new and improved Russian empire. So far, it’s not going very well for anyone, but that isn’t stopping them. In their minds, they are hammers pounding on nails, and the fact that the problems are, say, open-heart surgery instead of nails does not register. They see nails because they want to see nails, and they swing their hammers, breaking people and countries in the real world that they refuse to see.
These are only two examples of many, of course. And it’s a problem. We cannot lock up hundreds of thousands of people in psych wards, no matter how badly they may need treatment. And until the lot of them wake up from their dreams, the entire planet is at risk.
Just as the poor, deluded Mr. Kulis could have blown up the houses of his neighbors along with his own because of what he firmly believes to be true, people like John McCain and Vladimir Putin could blow up the planet. They may have a more socially acceptable version of insanity, but they aren’t any more sane than he, and their insanity can kill a lot more people.
Until we all live in the same, evidence-based, real world, we are at risk. All we can do is reach the reachable and teach the teachable, and hope that’s enough.
Mr. Blunt and Cranky