Last post I mentioned that Portland hasn’t kept up in the mass-murder category. And I think I know why.
What’s really happening is that Keeping Portland Weird has resulted in a near-total abandonment of normal homicidal methodology. I realized that the other day when I was flipping through The Oregonian and found an article about a recent murder: LANDLORD DRESSED AS MICHAEL MYERS KILLED BY SWORD-WIELDING TENANT. That seemed weird, except for the killing his landlord part. I turned the page.
MAN CHARGED IN FATAL SPEAR STABBING RULED NOT GUILTY. Well now. You don’t run into spear stabbings every day. Clearly some weirdness is afoot.
I’ve never even seen a spear outside a museum. As it happens, the only weapon I own in this house is a sword, although I am at a loss how to wield it. I know “wielding” is what you do with a sword, but the details are murky. I believe wielding a sword involves standing on a hill with it, backlit, legs apart, sword raised against the sky, in profile, and wearing a shortie tunic if at all possible. So I have the proper pose in mind, but the menacing part eludes me. The only way I can picture it involves me under the bed sweeping at an intruder’s ankles, and I don’t see a lot of promise in that.
I’ve thought about it. But I don’t even know if my sword is really designed for murder. It does have the little channel along it where the blood can run out, but I doubt it was ever used for the purpose. It is a Civil War sword, Confederate, picked up off the battlefield by my great-grandfather. He had his own fine sword and I don’t know who ended up with that one. My suspicion is they were not used in battle, but carried around in case Matthew Brady showed up with his camera. No one has long enough arms to do a decent sword selfie.
My suggestion to curb mass murder is some sort of legislation requiring would-be perpetrators to use antique weaponry. I am visualizing a scenario in which a man bent on revenge has to position himself on the top floor of a parking garage with a vat of boiling oil. One, he has to wait for his targets to bunch up on the sidewalk in one particular spot. Two, he won’t be able to keep the fire lit seven months out of the year.
Viking axes have a lot of cachet, but they’re problematic also. The idea is to cleave the opponent from head to foot until he is properly asunder. In order for a person to be cloven he has to walk right up to the fellow holding his axe high and around here nobody is moved to do that. Only a Viking would do that. Here in Portland, we stand several yards back and gently suggest that the axe wielder might benefit from a little chamomile.
Even a good catapult is of limited use in the conduction of a massacre. We’ve already limited high-capacity trebuchets and most citizens can spot and dodge the random incoming airborne boulder, because nobody around here uses an umbrella.
Fact is, I suspect our rain keeps a lot of this nonsense to a minimum. There might be some people interested in inflicting a big hurt but don’t want to get all wet doing it. Most of our wintertime fatalities are self-inflicted.