There are some things that you just can’t talk about with out stepping on someone else’s toes. These topics include Jesus, abortion and the Israel/Palestine conflict. No sooner than your opinion leaves your lips will those who disagree with you jump down your throat and devour your liver in a fit of self-righteous anger.
UCSB students and Isla Vista residents have added another topic to this short list: David Attias and his defense. Large numbers of people on and around this campus have chosen to shut their ears to what the rest of us have to say, using anger to tightly seal the mouths of anyone who disagrees with them.
The tragedy, which occurred more than a year ago, scared and angered our community. We lashed out at the media for their vulture-like coverage and we told the rest of the world to go fuck itself; that they don’t understand what Isla Vista really is. We were the last to condemn, to blame and to point fingers.
Solidarity was the key.
Now with the trial well underway, Isla Vista residents remain solid but have changed the bandwagon’s slogan. Our once compassionate role has now turned to one of blood lust. We’ve developed an angry mob mentality, desperately seeking some perverse form of justice that requires the loss of more life.
If you don’t join the new moral center, then you’re a monstrous traitor who deserves a good tar and feathering.
UCSB students in Isla Vista silence each other now. You can agree that what happened the night of February 23, 2001 was a horrific tragedy. You can agree that Attias did what he did. But God help you if you’re not out chanting for blood. If you should mention that Attias doesn’t deserve to die, kiss a pound of your pink flesh goodbye.
Silence is golden; it’s distracting, heavy and very, very expensive.
Residents of Isla Vista aren’t the only ones guilty; the tendency to denounce all other forms of thought exists throughout our society. You can see it in the way Americans responded to Bush’s decision for military action in Afghanistan after Sept. 11. If you didn’t want to bomb and made your feelings known, you were a sympathizer, a bleeding heart and, in some instances, a terrorist.
By restricting and limiting the thoughts and speech of others, we effectively eliminate any possibility of determining whether or not death should be an option and refuse to consider any other forms of retribution.
The irony is wonderful. We live in the bastion of progress populated with some of the world’s next greatest thinkers and creators, yet we silence each other because we let our emotions get in the way. Bye, bye rational thought, hello Dark Ages.
Emotions are the spark that lights the raging bonfire of discourse and thought. Without them, we’d still be sitting around in dark caves, scratching our asses with tree branches and wondering when our next meal would collapse within lumbering distance. Sparks start fires, but we can’t use them for anything else. It’s time for Isla Vista residents to put their feelings aside and start thinking about things in a proper light.
We’re all a little too worried about the image of our town to understand that another person’s life is on the line. Maybe, just maybe, death isn’t the proper recourse, even for such a devastating transgression.
If at the end of your thinking and discussion with others you find that Attias still should be put to death, then you have every right to feel that way. Don’t, however, use your emotions and opinions as a club to beat the rest of us into submission.
Talk to the rest of us, and more importantly, let the rest of us talk to you.
Steven Ruszczycky is the Daily Nexus assistant Opinion editor. Boy, does he love to enter discourse and open up dialogues. His column appears Tuesdays.