Nick Martin, writing for TPMMuckraker has an article entitled JT Ready Identified As Gunman In Arizona Massacre. The background is that yesterday, apparently, Ready killed himself and four other people: his girlfriend, her daughter, her daughter’s boyfriend, and the daughter’s 18-month old baby. It appears that he took measures attempting to make it look like the killings were the work of Mexican drug runners.
The article gives quite a bit of detail about Ready’s anti-immigrant fervor and ties with white supremacist organizations. But what really caught my interest was the opening paragraph:
Longtime white supremacist and border vigilante JT Ready saw himself as part of a war that few others would fight. He amassed weapons. He donned a uniform. He formed his own brigade of volunteers to walk alongside him as he hunted what he described as “narco terrorists” flowing across the Arizona-Mexico border.
It seems to me that, with some people, there is a driving need to see one’s self as a heroic figure in the consequential drama of one’s life. And that need leads to a view of the world that doesn’t comport with reality which, in turn, leads to interactions with the world that aren’t healthy and which aren’t helpful to others.
In this category, I also see the fervent believer with a personal relationship to God that helps them withstand the persecution that is everywhere while they are engaged in a noble effort to stand against evil; perhaps through a desperate battle to save America by battling its destructive cultural decline.
I’m sure there are plenty of other examples, religious and non-religious; left-wing and right wing. We’re all protagonists in our own story. That’s inevitable. Noted philosophers Jethro Tull explained that we’re “looking for a sign that the Universal Mind has written us into the Passion Play.” But, the self-focus and need to be central figures in the larger story can lead to destructive behavior and detract from our ability enjoy and participate in the reality that is actually around us.