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Dostoevsky and what he can tell us about brutal and senseless mass murder near Moscow

The profound words of Dostoevsky can help us understand and cope with modern tragedies.

Vladimir Golstein

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Contemplating one particular suicide – of a young girl who threw herself from the 4th floor window floor with an icon in her hand–Dostoevsky wrote in his essay, “Two Suicides”: “There are some things which, no matter how simple they seem on the surface, one still goes on thinking about for a long time; they recur in one’s dreams, and it even seems as if one is somehow to blame for them. This meek soul who destroyed herself torments one’s mind despite oneself” (Diary of a Writer, Oct. 1876)

Indeed, there are similar haunting acts of violence like that occur all over the world. One such has been committed a couple of days ago in Russia, in some small village in Tver region. Yet, universal as these crimes might be, there is something particularly Russian about this crime, as there was in the act of a suicide falling to her death while embracing an icon.

I refer to the mass murder of nine people which occurred when a bunch of drunkards (ten altogether) got together to celebrate the weekend along with the Orthodox Feast of Pentecost, and who drank themselves to a rather irrational state in which insults and taunting are flowing easily and so are the propensities to take offense. So the men at this gathering began to taunt their neighbor for being too weak to serve in the Marines. The 45 year old neighbor, who served only in border patrol, got upset, rushed home and re-emerged with his rifle out of which he shot and killed everyone who was present at this party, four men and five women, ranging in age from ninety one to twenty one. Turns out that one his tenth intended victim survived having hidden herself beneath the blankets on the bed.

So the murderer found a way to show his toughness. How senseless and how stupid! Yet, despite its drunken senselessness, there is something in this outburst that does haunt one’s soul, and keeps one wondering at the causes of such disproportional brutality.

On the surface of it, the crime looks just like another shooting at an American high school. A student or two, who feel slighted by other more popular kids, decide to take revenge on the school, and end up killing a lot of people. There is a difference however, between an insecure teenager and a grown up man with the experience of serving in the army and taking care of his elderly mother. The murderer was good with his hands, he was known in the neighborhood as “electrician” for his ability to help other inhabitants with various household shores. In fact, he was invited to the drinking party after he helped his neighbors with their electrical problem. A seemingly nice, friendly, and mature person. Yet, he still ended up with nine corpses on his hand. His anger was so strong, that he drove one participant to the cemetery and told her to dig her own grave, only to shoot her after she refused.

What triggered this “senseless and merciless” act, as a Russian journalist labeled it, referring to Pushkin’s description of a Russian peasant rebellion?

To blame vodka on this senseless crime is hardly sufficient. A lot of Russians drank themselves into stupor only to wake up the next morning and continue with their routine. We clearly need Dostoevsky, the keen observant of all the complexities of Russian character to explain it. In fact, Dostoevsky explored the examples of hyper adolescent touchiness and insecurity, the qualities exhibited by many Russian criminals that he observed during his life in Siberian prison and that which he so brilliantly captured in his later texts, be it, Notes from the House of the Dead, Notes from Underground, or The Diary of the Writer.

House of the Dead is filled with Russian criminals who at certain moment decide that that they “cannot take it no longer” and go on rampage, demonstrating such levels of degradation, anger, and frustration, which vodka or other provocations can easily push into a violent explosion. These people, all subjects of some underground anger and rebellion, plunge into crime like a rock fallen from a cliff. Such is a relatively harmless Luka Kuzmich, an extremely vane but not much respected prisoner, who ended up in Siberian exile for killing his officer in the army. Why? Because he didn’t like how this major talked down to him. So one day, Luka obtained a knife, and killed the officer when he was declaring to the soldiers his usual tirade that he is their “Tsar and God.” Such is a cheerful and good-natured person, Baklushin, who at certain moment just lost it. Baklushin was in love with a girl whose relatives pushed her into accepting the offer of a wealthy German artisan. So Baklushin invites himself to the house of his former fiancé, and after a phrase of two of a smug German, and he kills him. Somehow he could not stand being exposed as inadequate in front of the woman he loved. And finally, there is the most disturbing and violent story of Akulka’s Husband, a petty and abusive man, constantly taunted and mocked by his fellow villagers, who in turn, takes his anger on his wife, whom he brutally beats and eventually kills.

Dostoevsky never gives up exploring this strange yet persistent need of people to assert themselves, to show their own worth. These moments of self-assertion are as unpredictable as they are inevitable: “A convict is obedient and submissive to a certain degree: but there is a limit beyond which one should not go. Incidentally, there is no phenomenon more curious than these strange outbursts of impatience and obstinacy. Often a man will suffer in patience for several years, resign himself, endure the most savage punishments, and then suddenly erupt over some trifle, some piece of nonsense, almost nothing at all.” (35)

In the same text, Dostoevsky provides the following explanation of prisoners’ sudden and unexpected outbursts of anger: “The cause of this sudden outburst in the man of whom one least expect it is nothing more than an anguished, convulsive manifestation of the man’s personality, his instinctive anguish and anguished longing for himself, his desire to declare himself and his humiliated personality, a desire which appears suddenly and which sometimes ands in anger, in frenzied rage, in insanity, fits, convulsions… it is enough only for him to get started: when the man grows intoxicated, there is no holding him back. And therefore it would be better in every way not to let him get to this point.. yes, but how can this be done.” (110)

While in his 1875 notebooks for Adolescent, Dostoevsky goes even deeper, as he connects these outbursts of wounded egos with the sense of tragedy, while suggesting the that it is the society’s obligation to be more pro-active in addressing the circumstances that lead to these tragic outcomes:  “I am proud to have presented, for the first time, the real image of the Russian majority, and to have exposed, for the first time, its misshapen and tragic aspects. The tragic lies in one’s awareness of being misshapen… the tragedy of the underground …consists of suffering, self-laceration, an awareness of a better [life] coupled with the impossibility of attaining it, and, most important of all, a strong conviction on the part of these unfortunate people that everybody else is like them and that it is, therefore, not worthwhile to improve oneself! What can sustain those who do try to improve themselves? A reward, faith? Nobody is offering any reward, and in whom could one have faith? Another step from this position, and you have extreme depravity, crime, murder.”

Today’s killer, also went crazy after being humiliated in front of men and women. Somehow he felt that they have slighted him. Could have this awful outburst been prevented? On many levels, it is a duty of a society to instill in everyone a sense of self-worth. Religion surely helps, as does the proper education, or family love. But last years of Soviet Union coupled with the decimation of perestroika were surely the worst for the ego, it was indeed the time, when people’s degraded sense of themselves had very few healthy outlets, when one’s personality had difficulties realizing itself through work, or other achievements. It is obvious that Russian society, despite its noticeable improvement in economics and morals, hasn’t yet found the cure to all the crushed and frustrated individuals out there. As the result, ten lives were wiped out (I include the murderer’s life here as well). Haunting indeed. God rest their souls.

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New Zealand enacts new weapons ban just six days after massacre

The American left is sure to pick this up and start screaming for an “assault weapons ban” because this supports their agenda so well.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Reuters reported on Thursday, March 21 that the Prime Minister of New Zealand enacted a sweeping change, banning weapons of the type that were used in the massacre of at least fifty Muslims, who were gunned down on livestream while in Friday prayer services in Christchurch last week. We quote from the Reuters piece below, with added emphasis:

New Zealand will ban military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles under tough new gun laws following the killing of 50 people in its worst mass shooting, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday.

In the immediate aftermath of last Friday’s shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, Ardern labeled the attack as terrorism and said New Zealand’s gun laws would change.

“On 15 March our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place,” Ardern told a news conference.

“All semi-automatic weapons used during the terrorist attack on Friday 15 March will be banned.”

Ardern said she expected the new laws to be in place by April 11 and a buy-back scheme costing up to NZ$200 million ($138 million) would be established for banned weapons.

All military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles would be banned, along with parts used to convert weapons into MSSAs and all high-capacity magazines.

Australia banned semi-automatic weapons and launched a gun buy-back after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 in which 35 people were killed.

Ardern said that similar to Australia, the law would allow for strictly enforced exemptions for farmers for pest control and animal welfare.

“I strongly believe that the vast majority of legitimate gun owners in New Zealand will understand that these moves are in the national interest, and will take these changes in their stride.”

This is undoubtedly going to be real red meat (or perhaps real vegetables) for the anti-gun lobby in the United States. This is because New Zealand strongly resembled the US in terms of firearm rights and the penetration of numbers of guns in the populace of this remote island nation. Reuters continues, with statements that would probably surprise, even horrify some gun owners in the States, but which are doubtlessly useful for the application of pressure on such individuals:

New Zealand, a country of fewer than 5 million people, has an estimated 1.2-1.5 million firearms, about 13,500 of them MSSA-type weapons.

Most farmers own guns while hunting of deer, pigs and goats is popular. Gun clubs and shooting ranges dot the country.

That has created a powerful lobby that has thwarted previous attempts to tighten gun laws.

Federated Farmers, which represent thousands of farmers, said it supported the new laws.

“This will not be popular among some of our members but … we believe this is the only practicable solution,” a group spokesman, Miles Anderson, said in a statement.

The main opposition National Party, which draws strong support in rural areas, said it also supported the ban.

The changes exclude two general classes of firearms commonly used for hunting, pest control and stock management on farms.

“I have a military style weapon. But to be fair, I don’t really use it, I don’t really need it,” said Noel Womersley, who slaughters cpoliticalattle for small farmers around Christchurch.

“So I’m quite happy to hand mine over.”

To be absolutely fair, the attack on the mosques was an awful event, made the worse by the shooter’s deliberate attempts to politicize various aspects of what he was doing and what he “stood for” as an attack ostensibly against US President Donald Trump, some seven thousand miles away in the United States.

The immediate reaction of the people interviewed, some among them related or friends with the victims of the massacre, was to embrace the weapons reform laws:

Nada Tawfeek, who buried her father-in-law killed in the attacks, Hussein Moustafa, on Thursday, welcomed the ban.

“It’s a great reaction. I think other countries need to learn from her [Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern],” Tawfeek said.

Mohammed Faqih, a member of the Islamic clergy who flew in from California and attended the funerals for some victims on Thursday, said he was “extremely grateful” for the gun ban.

“I wish our leaders in the States would follow on her footsteps and do the same thing,” he said.

One can expect there to be quite the outcry among American liberals about gun control, especially if anything remotely resembling this event takes place or is thwarted in coming days in the US.

It may seem very cold and cruel to focus on the political angle of this story rather than the human tragedy that it is. However, in this situation we have seen signs that the most vile form of human tragedy has actually taken place – the murder of dozens of innocent people for a mere political point. Indeed this thought has been noted and vilified already, as Mr. R.X. Dentith, writing for the New Zealand website Spinoff here quoted:

American paleo-conservative Rush Limbaugh was one of the first to note: “There’s an ongoing theory that the shooter himself may, in fact, be a leftist who writes the manifesto and then goes out and performs the deed purposely to smear his political enemies, knowing he’s going to get shot in the process. You know you just can’t – you can’t immediately discount this. The left is this insane, they are this crazy. And then if that’s exactly what the guy is trying to do then he’s hit a home run, because right there on Fox News: ‘Shooter is an admitted white nationalist who hates immigrants.’”

…[P]eople like Limbaugh… can’t stomach the idea the terrorist action in Otautahi might be motivated by the kind of rhetoric Limbaugh helps disseminate – tend to think there is a culture war going on, and they are on the losing side.

This war has many names, and the enemy is easily identified: it is the battle against Cultural Marxism; the fight against Toxic Feminism; the resistance to Identity Politics; and the fear of the Great Replacement, the thesis at the heart of the terrorist’s own manifesto.

The Great Replacement thesis posits that the majority white European countries are being “invaded” by non-white, non-European peoples. Not just that, but due to declining birth rates in the West, this “invasion” constitutes a wholesale replacement of the white population over time.

Mr. Dentith tries further to knock down this notion of the Great Replacement. However, he misses a much more basic point.

Someone who goes and takes human lives and broadcasts them for any reason is not a mere political operative. The person who does this is a very sick, deranged human being indeed. Evil is certainly appropriately used here.

However, evil is often quite cunning, and despite the intellectual arguments about the reality or non-reality of any particular manifesto statement, in this case, the killer played the media with infernal intelligence, and they took the bait. It is possible that Prime Minister Ardern also took the bait, in this most awful of bad situations, and to give her credit, she took swift actions to try to “correct” what was wrong.

But the problem here was not the type of weapons used. The problem is the fact that they were used by a person who thought these fifty people’s lives were worth nothing more than a bit of policy change. One of the worst examples of human evil in recent times, this incident shouts to the world that there is a problem, but the problem remains unsolved, even though many people will hand over their firearms out of a genuine wish for compassion to those lost and the hope that somehow this action will prevent a future incident.

But the logic of this emotional reaction is nil. And what is worse is that the American Left knows this, but does not care. The movers and shakers of liberalism will likely milk the actions of sincerely horrified New Zealanders for all they are worth to try at affecting change in American constitutional rights.

And the innocent dead will not rest in peace, because the real problem has not even been examined.

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Upstart Populist Party Shocks In Dutch Election Upset, 2 Days After Utrecht Attack

International reports have described the FvD as receiving “a surge of last-minute support” in the days following the Utrecht attack.

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Via Zerohedge…


Dutch voters have sent shock waves through Europe at the polls on Wednesday in the wake of Monday’s deadly Utrecht terror shooting, in which a now detained 37-year old Turkish man went on a terrifying tram killing spree which left three dead and three injured.

Euroskeptic party, Forum for Democracy (FvD), has emerged victorious in key provincial elections this week, paving the way to making it one of the two largest groups in the Dutch Senate, and representing growing Dutch frustration with the recent unprecedented refugee influx in Europe.

Newcomer Forum for Democracy party is led by 36-year-old Thierry Baudet, who is a critic of the EU and of the Netherlands’ immigration policies, via EPA

International reports have described the FvD as receiving “a surge of last-minute support” in the days following the Utrecht attack, which investigators have since described as having a “terror motive” based on a letter found in shooter Gokmen Tanis’ possession.

Forum for Democracy party leader Thierry Baudet had immediately placed ultimate blame  for the incident on the government’s “lax immigration policies” and provocatively stated a day before the elections (referencing his political rival)

If people want more deadly shootings like the one in Utrecht, then they have to vote for the VVD.

Baudet, riding a wave of renewed Euroskeptic sentiment, and whose party also wants to see more military spending, green initiatives, and an easing on income tax while greatly restricting the borders, said in the aftermath of Wednesday’s vote: “The voters in the Netherlands have spread their wings and shown their true power.”

Referencing the Utrecht attack and other deadly terror incidents on European soil, he added: “We have been called to the front because we have to. Because the country needs us.”

Three were killed and several injured in Monday’s Dutch tram terror attack, which raised the country’s emergency threat level to five as it was unfolding, its highest level.

Interestingly, the 36-year old Baudet and his party continued campaigning down to the last moments even as others stopped in the wake of Monday’s attack which rocked the Netherlands. According to Al Jazeera:

Following the lead of US President Donald Trump, Baudet opposes immigration and emphasises “Dutch first” cultural and economic themes. He opposes the euro and thinks the Netherlands should leave the European Union.

Baudet had continued campaigning when other parties stopped after Monday’s attack in Utrecht, in which a gunman shot three people dead on a tram. The populist leader blamed the incident on the government’s lax immigration policies.

The FvD is now set to take 12 seats in the upper house of parliament, which is equal to Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative VVD Party, a scenario before this week considered unlikely according to many observers.

The FvD slightly outscoring the VVD means Rutte’s government has lost its majority for the 75-seat Senate ahead of upcoming May elections.

In a post-election speech on Wednesday, Baudet described further that what’s now being described in international media as “an upstart populist party [that has] shocked the Dutch political establishment” as punishing the arrogance of elites.

In his pro-Western civilization themed remarks, Baudet added, “We are standing in the rubble of what was once the most beautiful civilization in the world.”

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Will The Trump White House finally punish Facebook for censorship?

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 113.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at US President Trump’s tweet where he has said that he would be “looking into” a report that his social media chief, Dan Scavino Jr. has been censored by Facebook.

Are we finally about to see the Trump White House move to punish social media outlets for their blatant and bias censorship of alternative narratives that dare to stray from globalist neo-liberal and radical left ideology?

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“Conservatives face a tough fight as Big Tech’s censorship expands”, authored by Donald Trump Jr., via The Hill…

As Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives becomes ever more flagrant and overt, the old arguments about protecting the sanctity of the modern public square are now invalid. Our right to freely engage in public discourse through speech is under sustained attack, necessitating a vigorous defense against the major social media and internet platforms.

From “shadowbans” on Facebook and Twitter, to demonetization of YouTube videos, to pulled ads for Republican candidates at the critical junctures of election campaigns, the list of violations against the online practices and speech of conservatives is long.

I certainly had my suspicions confirmed when Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, “accidentally” censored a post I made regarding the Jussie Smollett hoax, which consequently led to me hearing from hundreds of my followers about how they’ve been having problems seeing, liking or being able to interact with my posts. Many of them even claimed that they’ve had to repeatedly refollow me, as Instagram keeps unfollowing me on their accounts.

While nothing about Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives truly surprises me anymore, it’s still chilling to see the proof for yourself. If it can happen to me, the son of the president, with millions of followers on social media, just think about how bad it must be for conservatives with smaller followings and those who don’t have the soapbox or media reach to push back when they’re being targeted?

Thanks to a brave Facebook whistleblower who approached James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, we now know that Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant developed algorithms to “deboost” certain content, limiting its distribution and appearance in news feeds. As you probably guessed, this stealth censorship was specifically aimed at conservatives.

Facebook appears to have deliberately tailored its algorithm to recognize the syntax and style popular among conservatives in order to “deboost” that content. “Mainstream media,” “SJW” (Social Justice Warrior) and “red pill” — all terms that conservatives often use to express themselves — were listed as red flags, according to the former Facebook insider.

Facebook engineers even cited BlazeTV host Lauren Chen’s video criticizing the social justice movement as an example of the kind of “red pills” that users just aren’t allowed to drop anymore. Mainstream conservative content was strangled in real time, yet fringe leftists such as the Young Turks enjoy free rein on the social media platform.

Despite the occasional brave gesture, politicians have been far too sluggish in recognizing the extent of the problem. But the Republican Party and the conservative movement are becoming more vigilant against the suppression of our speech, as we saw at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Silicon Valley lobbyists have splashed millions of dollars all over the Washington swamp to play on conservatives’ innate faith in the free-market system and respect for private property. Even as Big Tech companies work to exclude us from the town square of the 21st century, they’ve been able to rely on misguided conservatives to carry water for them with irrelevant pedantry about whether the First Amendment applies in cases of social media censorship.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has been making a name for himself as a Republican prepared to stand up to Big Tech malfeasance since his time as Missouri’s attorney general. He delivered a tour de force interview with The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel in front of the CPAC crowd, one that provided a clear-eyed assessment of the ongoing affront to the freedoms of conservative speech and expression.

Hawley demolished the absurd notion that “conservative principles” preclude taking action to ensure free debate online simply because Big Tech firms — the most powerful corporations in the world — are private companies.

Hawley pointed out that Big Tech companies already enjoy “sweetheart deals” under current regulations that make their malfeasance a matter of public concern. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, for instance, allows them to avoid liability for the content that users post to their platforms. To address this problem, Hawley proposed adding a viewpoint neutrality requirement for platforms that benefit from Section 230’s protections, which were originally enacted to protect the internet as “a forum for a true diversity of political discourse.”

“Google and Facebook should not be a law unto themselves,” Hawley declared. “They should not be able to discriminate against conservatives. They should not be able to tell us we need to sit down and shut up!”

It’s high time other conservative politicians started heeding Hawley’s warnings, because the logical endpoint of Big Tech’s free rein is far more troubling than conservative meme warriors losing their Twitter accounts. As we’re already starting to see, what starts with social media censorship can quickly lead to banishment from such fundamental services as transportation, online payments and banking.

Left unchecked, Big Tech and liberal activists could construct a private “social credit” system — not unlike what the communists have nightmarishly implemented in China — that excludes outspoken conservatives from wide swaths of American life simply because their political views differ from those of tech executives.

There is no conservative principle that even remotely suggests we are obligated to adopt a laissez-faire attitude while the richest companies on earth abuse the power we give them to put a thumb on the scale for our political enemies.

If anything, our love of the free market dictates that we must do whatever is necessary to ensure that the free marketplace of ideas remains open to all.

Donald Trump Jr. is executive vice president at The Trump Organization.

 

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