The Crucible Sails On Essay, Research Paper
It may just be an unescapable human trait, or it could be that we have psychologically evolved less than we actually believe, but the tendency for human beings to search for other reasons and explanations for bad incidents has alway been present. The book, “The Crucible,” by Arthur Miller, focuses on the Salem Witch trials. The book was written about the same time as the “Red Scare, ” and the McCarthy trials, and compares the mass hysteria surrounding both events, hence the name, “The Crucible.” On April 20th 1999, two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, opened fire in a suburban Denver high school, killing 13 people, including themselves. What ensued afterward through television analysts and newspaper columns across the nation, was a barrage of people who appeared to know the personal lives of these two boys, and with that, a knowledge of what drove these boys to go on a killing spree. Video Games, popular music, guns, movies, the media, lack of chistianity, parenting, and television all compose a short list of all the things that were blamed. In addition to what was blamed for this tragedy, characteristics of the boys were also mysteriously attributed to them without any proof. The boys were accused of being Nazi’s, they were accused of hating christians, they were accused of being racist, and they were accuse of being biased towards athletes. The christian churches were some of the strongest accusers compared to all the organizations contibuting their opinions. Within a day of the assault, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens was declaring that the murderers didn’t, “have the same moral background as the rest of us.” Bill Davenport, a Baptist pastor in San Clemente, confidently asserted that the killers didn’t value life, “because they haven’t been taught about God.” Jerry Falwell suggested that the killers were gay, a cry taken up in a press release from Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church: “Two filthy fags slaughtered 13 people at Columbine High.”
Now lets travel back in time to another era. Europe had similar problems towads the end of the middle ages. The mass hysteria surrounding witchcraft caused many people to be accused as witches. Just like in the present day, a barrage of people, mostly from the Catholic Church, claimed to know exactly what a witch was and how to locate and destroy one. They wrote the Malleus Malificarum as a guide to seeking out these witches, and came up with attributes of witches, such as the witches sabbat, the mark of the devil, and numerous other attributes that seemed to appear out of thin air. Over 300,000 people died because of this mass hysteria. Over the last 400 years, you would think that society would overcome these kind of instances, and although we have advanced in many other areas of life, the psychological trend of blaming other factors of truths for tragedies remains.
Back to 1999, everyone has an opinion on why the two boys walked into school that day and opened fire on their classmates. “By the time our children leave school at the start of the summer,” announced Handgun Control, Inc. Chair Sarah Brady, “they should know that the lawmakers of this country have done something to protect them from the type of gun violence that occurred at Littleton.” They also looked towards the internet to find reasoning behind the tragedy. Eric Harris had his own Web Page, and there was an investigaton that looked into whether the boys found out how to make the bombs they used on the internet. Analysts aalso stressed that April 20 was Hitler’s birthday, a sign we were told, that the killers were neo-Nazis. Some critics attacked goths; others took on trench coats; still others, the abolition of school prayer. 20/20 called the Goth movement a terror that is taking over the children of America. They then threw together a list of bands that had hardly anything in common, and put together a list of warning signs, despite the fact that the two boys had no affiliation ith this movement. Tipper Gore called for more therapy. The movie, “Basketball Diaries,” in which a student brings a gun to school and kills his classmates, was blamed more than any other movie in Hollywood, even though every movie in Hollywood was blamed. Some even thought it was a sure sign that the apocalypse is upon us.
It’s peculiar how these rumors are usually first generated by people who know nothing about the subject matter. The priests of the witchhunting era initially knew nothing about witchcraft. The journalists, analysts and church figures of the present day know nothing about being in high school in 1999, nor do they know anything about the goth lifestyle. They really don’t even seem to know that much about the two boys. So what happens? Rumors are started, people are unfairly blamed, and more restrictions are placed on people. And in either era, people end up dead, and the crucible sails on.