I have been in deep thought for the last two weeks as it relates to our mass shooting episodes. I have listened to the left and the right. I will admit upfront I am not a fan of guns but will give latitude to my hunting buddies. El Paso and Dayton play well in our sensational and political world. I just think there is more to it than meets the eye.
By definition a mass shooting is any time there are more than four deaths. They caused 550 deaths last year. But all told there were almost 20,000 homicides in toto. Who is weeping over the other 19,450? Almost 50,000 of our fellow Americans killed themselves. Isn’t that also murder of a sort? This is the larger picture to be analyzed. Are these causes or merely symptoms of a troubled world? Either way it is not right.
Let me address guns right off the bat. There are over 350 million of them in these United States. That is beyond obscene. We can have all the background checks we want. There is no sane way of ridding ourselves of this terror. We should have started a long long time ago. The fact there is no system in place to track them all is beyond disgraceful.
As for mental illness I am of course one of the most ardent supporters of mental health. But right now there are 35 million of us who suffer from some sort of malady both acute and chronic. How do you prioritize treatment? Where are you going to find practitioners to work with 10,000new cases much less tens of millions? Another example of great press with a poor chance for success.
Murder et al go all the way back to Cain and Abel and if you are not religious let’s go with Caesar and Et Tu Brute? Since primitive days of humanity, the only way to survive was to protect oneself from wild animals or the local invaders.
The world got more complex. Stir other deadly sins like jealousy, hatred, greed into the pot and you have a solution to all of man’s or woman’s problems. Just do away with the target or competition, whether in war or peace. No sweat.
Today I think killing whether it be mass or otherwise has been woven into our culture. It is part of who we are. We no longer are revulsed. We shake our heads and in two days it is on Page 13, if it is there at all. We go back to our lives thanking God it wasn’t us or any of our own.
In days of yore life was simpler. Small towns that dotted our country were more like large families. Everyone knew and took care of each other. Everyone took part like the butcher, the baker and candlestick maker. You mattered.
As towns grew into cities there was this loss of identity and the growth of anonymity. That bespoke a somewhat solitary and almost irresponsible lifestyle. You lose your sense of belonging and whatever part you play feels less and less essential. Some of us deem ourselves as outcasts.
That territorial nature of our beliefs is often poisonous. If I don’t share your mores or can’t pass your entrance exam, then I will start my own. This splintering takes its toll. Now instead of a couple of groups disputing broad brushed tenets we have every type of interest be they religious, national, color or sexual preference squaring off against each other.
These groups are all valid but their quick appearance and perhaps overinflated publicity has rocked us to our foundations. There is little to share as core beliefs and ethos vary wildly. Oppressed peoples see that protest and outcry get attention and they have their right to the piece of the pie. We have sky high stock markets, 3.7% unemployment and an underbelly that is ready to split wide open.
White Supremacists fear the degradation of their race. Religious right see Sodom and Gomorrah. Progressives want to blow up the whole thing and start over again by taxing the rich to extinction and cancelling all outstanding debt. Technocrats see the elimination of 40% of the work force by robotics and AI. Underneath it all, everyone is out for themselves and therein lies our downfall. And FOX and CNN will bring it to you 24/7. It is great optics.
We have lost respect of our leaders. We have seen cheating and corruption at every turn. We have no self discipline and refuse to take responsibility for our actions. Our morality has pushed every acceptable limit. But above all, is our loss of empathy for our fellow man and woman.
What changes this? 9/11’s horror should have, but it was short lived. Sandy Hook? Las Vegas? We have neither the political nor popular will to change. We have become numb either by the constant killing or just because it is easier to look the other way.
Will we have more mass shootings? Unfortunately the answer is yes. But as I said they are a symptom. We have to change our way of thinking from the ground up. We need a new set of ideals. Unfortunately we are too busy making money or protesting about those that do, to employ some deep and serious soul searching. Maybe I think too much. It is a tragic flaw. Unfortunately the story line of this fairy tale ain’t looking too good right now. I hope I am wrong.
Ted The Great.
There are over 1 million organization and associations in the US. Each one has a specific purpose and promotes a different agenda.
- For all age groups, the top five killers are heart disease (633,842), cancer (595,930), lower respiratory disease (155,041), unintentional injury (146,571) and stroke (140,323).
Guns with 20,000 are looking good. Only 289 in NYC in 2018. Chicago only 561. Things are looking up.
Ethnic Breakdown of the US
African American 12.6%
Native Americans 1.6%
American 7% (Not sure what that means)
More than 80% of guns used in mass shootings have been purchased legally.