America is a violent country.
Murders, killings, loss of life, manslaughter, homicide. The words we have to describe the extinguishing of life seem as numerous in our culture as the Inuit have words to describe snow. That another murder will occur today in our largest cities is as sure and expected as the sun is to rise in the east.
Murder in the USA is not simply common but it is also celebrated. This is painfully and horribly obvious in the movies, television shows music and just about every other media venue available today which the population of the USA happily and greedily consume without moderation. Many will point out that these macabre art forms are not real, they are just for pleasure!
Then one will turn on Fox news at the start of a war and feel a rush of exhilaration as their entertainment and blood lust cross over into reality. Greedy eyes scan the screen for an updated and real time body count which as it mounts, 100, 120, 150 almost becomes similar to sexual arousal as the faintest glint of morality gives way to our innate and violent animal urges which evolution has not had long enough to shed.
Evolution has given us however, a larger brain which we use to try and process, try to explain and reason out these primal thoughts. When a murder has taken place we almost always have a need, a great desire to know why. There simply must be a logical reason: insanity, the righting of a wrong, uncontrollable anger, terrorist, protecting freedom. One reason that we will simply not allow any room for is simply that the urge to kill was necessary for millions of years in our evolution. As I read history it seems the furthest we can go back to some sort of civilization is only 10 thousand years or so where one can reasonably expect people began to realize that murder is not a good thing.
Ten thousand years is a very short time in terms of the evolution of mankind. The amount of time is even shorter when a rule was made “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” that seem to spread rather quickly (2000 years) as humankind forced their particular religious brand among the people through the extremely effective method known as war and a persuasion where the only other option was death.
However, many cultures have matured and after many orgies of great destruction have, for the moment, pacified their blood lust. The United States is not among these.
As our culture is awash in violence there are periodic outbursts which seem to be a culmination, an apex which like an exploding volcano releasing a bit of pressure. We are shocked by the tragic results, reflect a little then go back to the status-quo.
This is quite unfortunate but what is truly shocking to me is that we are unable to use our brains and logic to correct this. Changing an entire culture is not something that can be done just by making a new rule.
Instead, it is like the alcoholic that must enter an AA program and take specific steps to rid himself of the affliction.
Step 1: Admit you have a problem
In the USA we cannot get to step one. Admitting we have a violent culture is not something that has entered our collective consciousness.
Because it has been drilled into our brains that America is the best. Admitting that we have a culture of violence is not compatible with the view we have of ourselves. America is the protector of freedom, it is the country that wins the most Olympic gold medals, America invented the car, the airplane, the computer and just about every good thing that has been invented since America was founded!
In fact, if America was a man, then it is obvious that second to “Uncle Sam” America would be represented as, well, Captain America! When a culture has an image of themselves as the “doer of right” there is no room for a problem. If there is a problem then just like the alcoholic it must be hidden away, or there must be an explanation.
“I drink so much because you make me this way!”
I have not come to this conclusion simply on a whim or by daydreaming. It is presented to me on a daily basis by that grand sociological experiment known as Facebook. This is the medium where once taboo subjects, those issues which usually call for a bit of decorum are now laid bare like an overweight Brit sunbathing on a beach in Spain. It is simply shocking yet as the pasty Brits continue to flock to Spain, so do people in my network post their naked and untempered opinions.
On a continual basis something occurs in our society which gets everyone very worked up and people take to the social networks. If I were to take all of these posts personally then in the past week I have been:
1. Threatened with an unfriending if I did not agree or dissented
2. Pleaded with to “simply understand” that their opinion is correct
3. Told that I am flat out wrong
These were not directed at me personally but instead were just random posts. I do not use social media as a soundboard to persuade or threaten my friends. To me, this is best left to those who allow their emotions and animalistic selves to overtake their rational, thinking side.
Now, as is characteristic of this blog and where I do let emotion and my opinions rush forth, let me dive completely in.
The USA has just had the absolute worst incident of violence it has ever had. Adults are killed all the time in our culture, it is expected. But children at school at their desks is the worst thing I can possibly imagine. There can be no worse example and for the first time in a long time I am so severely affected that I cannot and do not want to read the news about this. I think about them, I think about their souls and where they are now in the afterlife. I think about their parents and how I do not think I could bare it. I think that if something like this happened to my child I just might prefer to shoot myself. I am not afraid of death but I am afraid of the pain these parents are experiencing. I cannot dwell on this too much or it will drag me down so low it will take a while to come back out of it.
Instead, let me tell you how disgusted I am with the reactions we have had in our culture. On the social networks this has been said in various ways but can be summed up and accurately represented by this.
I am sad but…….
What came after the “but” was a selfish proclamation, a gauntlet thrown down (to all their friends!) that no situation, no matter how utterly unthinkable would affect their ability to own something.
That something is a gun. The blood was not yet dry from murdered small children and here we have half of the population defending their right to own an item that’s singular purpose is to kill or at least severely wound.
Thinking of this triggers another innate human reaction deep in my gut. The reaction is in the face of something so terribly incomprehensible and sad I chuckle at such blatant idiocy.
I can think of no situation better suited for those who enjoy possessing firearms to keep their mouth shut.
But no no, this is America where an individuals right to do whatever the fuck they want trumps everything else. There is no “we” in the USA anymore, it is simply “I.” It might do well to take “We the people” out of the constitution! It should be replaced by “I the individual!”
Hell, now that I think about it “We the people” sounds so Communist!!!! There you go Fox News, I just gave you a GREAT argument for your stupid viewership.
Even if one does not like the idea of getting rid of guns completely, then perhaps a rule could be set down that if one is able to kill X number of humans in Y seconds then it could possibly not be a great thing to have on the market?
You see, if you have an urge to kill then you should really use a knife. Using a knife takes COMMITMENT!! You have to get up close and personal with the victim and really DIG INTO IT!
With a gun murder is so impersonal. You can just close your eyes and squeeze the trigger. It takes absolutely no effort and you don’t even need to get your hands dirty.
I’ve heard people say that criminals don’t follow laws so banning guns wouldn’t work. We also have so many guns laying around already so what would a ban really do?
Again, we go back to my argument about the alcoholic. There is no one simple solution, no pill America can pop to simply make things better. However, limiting the amount of alcohol might be a good first step! Or if we need to step down slowly how about just having him drink beer and stopping sales of the 50 proof?
Or hell, how about slapping a 5000% tax on the 50 proof?
But no, America cannot take the first step. America doesn’t want to take any steps at all! Those that scream about their right to own guns, and all types of guns offer no solutions. At least the anti-gun folks want to do something.
As for my personal opinion, I’m not against hand gun ownership. I am against assault rifle ownership. In our society we are having too many instances of mass shootings by one individual. I am against guns that can kill X number of people in Y minutes. I think there should be a limit or at least a very very large tax.
Finally and to reiterate, I am shocked by how uncivil our society has become. For the record more people in my social network did not comment about gun rights after this tragedy. It was mostly the Fox news viewers and they remain in a perpetual state of rage no matter the circumstances.
As Romney said, 47% of the population can be written off for the Republicans. Well, 100% of the Fox News viewership can be written off as they are not intelligent, thinking people.
Right now the society of the USA needs to take a concrete step in the right direction. I do not know what steps those are but I would hate to see this society fall further than it already has.