Thursday, March 4, 2010

Because Vernon Hunter was understood as victim

Googling "Vernon Hunter" on Monday night I was stunned by how little the national media, beyond Bunch, Crooks and Liars, the Associated Press and ABC's "Good Morning America," had paid attention to Stack's victim. "GMA" seemed to write about Hunter because the show featured Stack's daughter from his first marriage, Samantha Bell, calling her father a "hero." To her credit, Bell retracted her statement, and labeled Hunter the hero, when she learned about the man her father killed. (Joan Walsh, “Why so little attention to Vernon Hunter?” Salon, 22 Feb. 2010)

Because Vernon Hunter was understood as victim

I think many of us still avoid identifying with the "passive" victim, and take some pleasure in associating with the effective self-exertion of the killer. I think it means a lot of us have known substantial bullying in our lives, 'cause the most frequent reaction of those who've been bullied, when they witness someone else under attack, IS NOT actually to defend them but rather to (in psychological parlance) "identify with the persecutor" -- join the bullying crowd, and thereby avoid a re-encounter with previous shame and fear. Those who reach out to the victim: the better loved, not those who've suffered from bullying themselves. Vernon Hunter was not of course passive, but he is largely UNDERSTOOD as a "victim" -- that is, as fatally vulnerable. And so all the attention veered toward the hunter, rather than Hunter. That's my largest sense of the why.

There are also those who see him as a proxy. He is THEIR man, who just wouldn't shut up and take it. He isn't yours. He isn't mine. But I think we need to take care to note that in different situations, with different individuals, WE TOO might become so focused on the some particular someone who finally expresses OUR OWN discontent, rage, that the humanity of other people is lost to some extent in their becoming "wreckage" of our proxies' noteworthy concussive power. These headlines of yours have me thinking a bit of the "finally, someone speaks out!" excitement/relief, that has drawn many of the right in this instance to lose all contact/interest in Vernon Hunter.

1) The President Obama we voted for

I'll let a smart friend explain why Obama beat the GOP and won back his base, at least for a glorious day

2) Finally, some spine

The president gives (another) great speech. But it will take more than words to get his agenda back on track

and particularly this one:

3) Thank you, Sen. Franken

Senate Dems are saying he stifled Joe Lieberman to keep debate on track. Liberals are happy, whatever the reason

Link: Why so little attention to Vernon Hunter (Salon)

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