The Way We Live Now
I am reminded that in 2009 I felt sad for Farrah Fawcett, not only because of her tragic early death, or her overlong and overexposed relationship with a narcissistic man-child. She also had the bad luck to die on the same day as Michael Jackson. He, being the bigger star and dying under more mysterious circumstances, overshadowed her media sendoff, which surely would have been amplified wider and longer had the media not had also to contend with the sketchy passing of a celebrity pedophile, a story that went on for weeks.
Today that all seems beyond quaint. I feel sad for Tom Petty, who died on the same day as the Las Vegas massacre, a profoundly appalling and complex story that is the latest example of the myriad opportunities we have as Americans to commit mass murder. I feel terrible for the victims and their loved ones, who will be scarred by the carnage for the rest of their lives, and for the victims and families of the inevitable subsequent shooter who outperforms the current high bar for gun atrocity.
There are now 59 confirmed dead and over 500 wounded, and many obituaries remain to be written. The story will stay at the forefront (unless we nuke North Korea) until the “public” is “satisfied” that the mysteries surrounding the shooter’s planning and actions have been sufficiently fleshed out. When the answers come, weeks or months from now and following many, many screenfuls and soundbites of reportage and commentary by politicians and pundits, we will learn that he did it, to paraphrase Bill Clinton, because he could.