Science fiction delves into the darkness of the human soul. It also speculates on how societies present and future may react to extreme crisis, up to and including the apocalypse. History teaches us that societies in real life often unite in times of crisis. After the 9/11 attacks, our society certainly united, in common hatred for the common enemy.
But, it would seem it takes an attack on the entire society to elicit such a visceral feeling of tribal unity. Attacks against carefully selected sub-sections of society do not seem to elicit unity. Quite the opposite.
Orlando, Florida. The most recent mass shooting in what is becoming a darkly monotonous parade of senseless death did little or nothing in unifying society. Perhaps because segments of the public saw different faces of evil when looking at the carnage. The LGBT community saw hatred directed against them. Right-wing politicians saw an opportunity to strike terror into the collective consciousness of the public by raising the devil of Islamic Radicalism and reiterating mad cries for closing the doors of the land of opportunity to anyone who prays to Allah. Other right wing politicians used the opportunity to stoke the fires of the culture wars by suggesting that the patrons of a gay night club simply "reaped what they'd sown." As usual, the obvious question of gun control was raised, and as usual, still more right-wing politicians kow-towed to the gun lobby in blocking substantial progress on the issue.
The usual arguments and counter-arguments were raised. On one side: Why was a man on a terror watch-list able to purchase an assault rifle? For that matter, why is anyone able to purchase an assault rifle? On the other side: Why weren't the patrons of the night club armed with assault rifles? (Yeah, those right-wingers in North Carolina would love that...gays with assault rifles.)
The right wing continues to hold the unlimited right to bear fire-arms as sacred while giving at best meagre lip service to the right to live, shrugging off mass shootings as an immutable fact of modern life while bemoaning abortion as murder. (Say...if a gunman shot up a maternity ward instead of an abortion clinic, I wonder if the pro-lifers would picket the NRA? Nah...they'd probably advocate arming the OBGYN staff. And, the pregnant patients.)
No, unless the enemy hits us all at once, we will not unite against him. We won't even agree on who he is. Instead, we'll just use the selective attacks, the terminations with extreme prejudice as propaganda material for waging our private feuds and hateful slights, even before the bodies are cold.
Now, that's an effective strategy for any enemy of our society. Attack the factions one by one, and watch them turn on each other. "They came for the Jews, and I didn't protest because I wasn't a Jew. Then, they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't protest..." Well, you know the rest.
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