Archive for May 25th, 2022

Monsters All

Blcak Band

As a breath on glass, –
As witch-fires that burn,
The gods and monsters pass,
Are dust, and return.

 — George Sterling, The Face of the Skies

It was less than two weeks ago that I last wrote about a mass shooting, that one being the Buffalo supermarket. If someone wanted to write exclusively about mass shootings, they would have no problem finding new material on a regular basis here in America.

The reactions always follow a pattern. The outrage, the shock, the same old thoughts and prayers are extended from the very politicians who do all that is in their power to either eliminate gun laws or hinder the enforcement of existing laws by declawing and underfunding the agencies who do the actual enforcement. These shootings occur so often that it’s hard to not notice the rife hypocrisy when the governor of Texas and other politicians claim that these killings are incomprehensible or inconceivable, especially when their clearly stated aim is to put as many guns out there as is humanly possible. Maybe a gun or two for every living breathing person.

I mean, what could go wrong with something like that?

But even with a crazy number of guns out there, this is not solely a gun problem. It might have been at some point many years ago. Of course, you have to factor in mental illness. But maybe even mental illness remains more a symptom than cause. Other countries have comparable levels of mental illness without having a weekly slaughter of the innocents so maybe we should put the idea that this is simply a matter of mental illness on the shelf.

No, my opinion– and it’s just that– is that our cult of guns might well have transformed into a monster driven by many other societal factors, mental illness being just one.

There are many other things that come to mind. A growing lack of empathy and a growing sense of self-entitlement. A sense of victimization and a willingness to blame others for our own inadequacies. A desensitization to outrage and incivility.  A desire for instant gratification. A plague of self-centeredness. The worship of and desire for celebrity. A growing sense of powerlessness coupled with a growing acceptance of outright lies and conspiracies.

I could go on and on just off the top of my head. These are all things you can see in just about any single reality show on TV right now where awful behavior is celebrated.

And that’s what these slaughters resemble from my viewpoint. I use the word slaughter rather than shotting because that word is too clean, not conveying the true horror of children being shot with military-grade weaponry. Consider that the families in Texas were required to provide DNA samples so that they could identify the children because of the physical carnage done to their small bodies. I hate to point that out, but any form of whitewashing here does a grave disservice to potential future victims.

And there will be future victims. Most likely in a couple of weeks. And we will go through the same dance of grief and outrage. A rerun, if you will, since this is certainly the reality show we have created.

What does it say about us that if monsters kill kids, we just sit idly by watching without raising a finger to stop them? Doesn’t that in itself make us monsters?

I wish I had an answer to this awfulness. I don’t and don’t have the hubris to believe I do. But I do know that what we are doing is not working, that what we have become is not what we want to be as a country.

It will take something drastic that will require cooperation, sacrifice, and common goals.

Sadly, that sounds like a pipedream these days and most likely this horror show will be on the air again soon. And we’ll all be passively watching, same as always.

Monsters all.

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