[We realize this touches on topics outside the mission but we published a piece below that takes similar positions but from the left. -- Angela Keaton]
by J. Buzz Webb
So now the vicious cycle begins: the blame game, the finger pointing, the online petitions. No one wants to listen because they’ve got it all figured out. Critical thinking and open-mindedness have already lost to rigidity. The lines are drawn, the trenches are dug deep and round we go again. Let’s look a little deeper…
This entire tragedy is already hopelessly, horribly politicized, and it’s already on with the gun control hysterics. Simply put, prohibition DOES. NOT. WORK. Connecticut already has some of the strictest gun control laws in America. This calamity happened in a federally mandated “Gun Free School Zone.” So what does that mean? It means it’s a place that people are concentrated where they have little to no possibility of escape and absolutely zero means of protecting themselves in the event that something like this were to occur. Nonetheless, these massacres are symptoms, and it’s typically American to ignore the root causes, decide “there oughta be a law!” and move on. Advocating for more gun laws relies on the fact that criminals will obey the law. How silly a concept is that? Unfortunately, additional laws on paper will never remove risk from our lives no matter what the issue is. Hacking at the branches with knee-jerk, reactionary emotionalism does nothing to strike the root.
But this is way deeper than that. Our culture, not our “gun culture”, but the actual culture, is FUBAR’ed. That’s the *REAL* conversation that needs to happen, and it won’t. Obama will employ violence as a means and drone bomb to death this many kids in Pakistan or Yemen next week. More soldiers kill themselves than die in combat. Mental health treatment is difficult and expensive to access, and usually consists of passing out prescriptions for powerful, mind-altering drugs which, ironically, happens to be a common denominator for all of these mass shootings: the shooters were all taking psychotropic pharmaceuticals. Even Michael Moore has drawn that conclusion. Everyone is more connected now than ever, but there’s no community anywhere. People know more about strangers on the internet or TV actors than their own neighbors. Those are the real issues, not gun control. However, there is no political solution for deep-seated spiritual and social problems.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was right: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Since MLK’s days, the official political policy has changed to *military offense*, globally. So when 18 kids in a Pakistani schoolhouse are murdered next week by a drone bomb, the media will not report on it and people here will just go on living their lives and not care. This is the dehumanizing effect of how we perceive other human beings that are not “American”, yet folks will continue to employ politicians who are willing to use violence as a means and not really give two thoughts about it. Americans have become desensitized until an unfortunate event hits at home and when it does, then it’s hyper-sensationalism. Better to live by the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.
And therein lies the mental disconnect. The only thing the recent presidential election tells me is that 117 million Americans have not rejected violence as a means, no matter what they claim personally, as both mainstream candidates openly admitted their willingness to use violence. People are outraged today by the Connecticut shooting because it was a massacre not sanctioned by state violence. Yet 117 million Americans just recently voted for two candidates who both embrace violence. To outsource one means of (state) violence and outcry another is terribly inconsistent and not a renunciation of violence. So until we begin to understand how *all* of these events, both at home and projected abroad, are inter-connected in our own lives and how they affect us (and how we absent-mindedly perpetuate them), then sadly, I’m afraid we will all continue to die a slow spiritual death.
[H/T to Dylan Boswell for the inspiration and the parts I borrowed.]Please feel free to share.