PESSIMISM WARNING! I hate to pee in your Cheerios, but nothing will change. We are first in mass shootings, first in gun deaths, nearly half in suicides. More than any county of the “civilized” world, not at war. But nothing will change. We make it about anything other than intelligent gun control or an in-depth study of our violent culture and how we perpetuate it. We don’t want to spend money on education to lift up people, we would rather spend it on prisons. We would rather erect a wall than take a serious look at our own culture and its motivations and the dangers from within.
It must be about mental illness, and it is, even though we’ve made it easier for the mentally ill to possess guns. We put the killer under a microscope, scrutinize and debate race, or religion or immigration. If we can’t hang the murderer on one of those excuses we make it about politics or gun free zones or sanctuary cities or Mars ascending into Venus…when it should be about our culture. We offer our thoughts and prayers.
I consider myself a religious man, if not, a spiritual one, but our thoughts and prayers are wearing thin especially when it involves the same kind of kids and schools I taught in for forty-three years. The thinness is because I believe nothing will change. It is too much a part of our culture. We are a violent group, some with Bibles in one hand, AR-15s in the other. “Thou Shalt not Kill” should have an addendum. Thou Shalt not Kill unless it abridges my right to purchase and use an AR-15.
I probably shouldn’t be focused on the AR-15…although there is a good reason. From Aurora to Stoneman Douglas High, it seems to be the weapon of choice, whether due to popularity or ease of use, I don’t know. We’ve weaponized ourselves with all sorts of arms. I have two handguns and a shotgun myself…and a rock, car, butter knife and a fork.
There seems to be something about our manhood that goes hand in hand with a gun or rifle…and the violent tendencies we hold dear. Do they make a perfume “Ode de Gunpowder?” I’ll write about women just as soon as there is a female mass shooter. Why are our males more violent than females? They are not, women just like to inflict pain over a longer period…. Sorry.
Our country was forged on violence…from the very beginning and we glorify it. From an “Eye for an Eye,” to the cult of the warrior in the many wars we have fought, to the dubious history of the Western gunfighter. Our video games, television programs, and movies glorify violence and they have an effect. It is still about the Alpha male with the gun in one hand and the adoring, scantily clad female secured with the other. At least we’ve added movies with scantily clad, female superheroes. Hum…sex, and gunpowder….
So, as pessimistic as it sounds, I don’t think we will ever change. I believe we will continue to lead in categories we say we don’t want to lead in and continue to offer our thoughts and prayers instead of taking a meaningful look at our culture and what our culture breeds. Because we won’t take a meaningful look I expect the violence to increase…but I’m not sending any more thoughts and prayers.
It is worse than I even thought it could be. I’m a retired teacher and coach…and a father and a grandfather. The Sandy Hooks, along with the dozens of mass shootings occurring in schools since then, hits me hard. One of the Florida school shooting victims is the son of a former student. That makes it personal. Not that anything will be done. If twenty dead first graders can’t affect change, nothing will. I would say our guns are more important than our children.