racists plot to destroy undesirables with death ray.

That which the human population of the earth is capable of producing is stunning at times. We produce great feats of physical beauty, artistic expression unparalleled, a thirst for knowledge and meaning; what can’t we do if we set our minds to it?


Federal officials say two men in New York state are charged in a bizarre plot to develop a mobile X-ray “death ray” machine to silently and remotely kill people flagged as “undesirable.”

At Third Ten Million Years, we stand awed before such a plan. Hatched in the minds of racists, pulled from pages of a pulp sci-fi novel or Bond film (is that Moonraker?), and marked with the language of tyranny.

It’s like casual monstrosity. What are we supposed to do with this kind of story? I long to make jokes at the expense of these two men, Glendon Scott Crawford, 49, and Eric J. Feight, 54. But I don’t know that we can or should. Clearly they are terrible human beings, dreaming of, if not planning to, inflict violence on those whom they have chosen to hate. But their means to such an end is is so preposterous that all that can be done is the eye-roll and scoff-laugh of derision.

We are humans. Marvel.

I am reminded of a much more benign and peaceful version of this story, captured in the excellent film Safety Not Guaranteed. The unhinged man in that movie is building a time machine instead of a death ray. God-forbid, we are all wrong, and they are right.


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