Mass shootings

Regardless of the motives behind the mass shooting attacks that have taken place in the US, with the attack in San Berndardino, California being the most recent, my thoughts and prayers go to the survivors, and to the family and friends of those who were involved. This kind of thing is not new; but it sadly seems as though it is becoming more common. I will not wade into the debate regarding legal gun ownership in the US … I see and feel for both sides of that debate, and anything I could offer in that regard would only spark a heated response from one side or the other.

What I will offer, instead, is that I think culture is playing at least as big a role as are the guns, themselves. People in the US are afraid – in many cases with good reason – of one another. It also seems that a number of highly polarized ways of looking at things pervades American thinking – and this seems to filter down from a government that has become about as polarized as it could possibly be. There are also other competing factions in this that should not escape mention; because while on the one hand there is the government that is only too happy to politicize anything it can, there is also a media presence in America that has built itself on sensationalizing and, I like to believe unintentionally, glamorizing such tragedies. This, of course, does not really begin to address the possibility that an attack such as the one in San Bernardino could be motivated by foreign interests; but even in such situations, the media and political attention would likely be all the reward such attackers would need for their efforts.

Again, I think it would be unfair to offer an opinion one way or the other when it comes to laws concerning gun ownership in the US. At the same time, though, I think it would be fair to say that as long as things in American culture are as dysfunctional as they seem to be, new laws concerning guns would not be very effective. Those in America who fear for their existence, should their freedom to own firearms be impinged, would likely not feel motivated to trust a government that sought to disarm them – I can’t help but remember Charlton Heston’s famous pose, with rifle held in both hands above his head, warning, “From my cold, dead hands.” Something about Moses issuing that warning burned itself into my memory; and I do not think I’m alone in that. Laws like this would be more effectively passed and enforced when the citizenry is itself less passionately split for all its abundant reasons. That would require, of course, that the powers-that-be stop trying to stir the pot, and start trying to heal the divisions that seem to keep spiraling away in the US.

Again, to the families and friends of those involved in these most recent shootings, I can only offer my thoughts and prayers. For the people of the US in general, I offer wishes of peace, understanding, and unity.

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14 responses to “Mass shootings

  1. Your words are soothing balm in this time. You speak eloquently and truthfully, and there are no easy answers regarding gun ownership. You said it best with this:

    This kind of thing is not new; but it sadly seems as though it is becoming more common. I will not wade into the debate regarding legal gun ownership in the US … I see and feel for both sides of that debate, and anything I could offer in that regard would only spark a heated response from one side or the other.

    What I will offer, instead, is that I think culture is playing at least as big a role as are the guns, themselves. People in the US are afraid – in many cases with good reason – of one another. It also seems that a number of highly polarized ways of looking at things pervades American thinking – and this seems to filter down from a government that has become about as polarized as it could possibly be. There are also other competing factions in this that should not escape mention; because while on the one hand there is the government that is only too happy to politicize anything it can, there is also a media presence in America that has built itself on sensationalizing and, I like to believe unintentionally, glamorizing such tragedies. This, of course, does not really begin to address the possibility that an attack such as the one in San Bernardino could be motivated by foreign interests; but even in such situations, the media and political attention would likely be all the reward such attackers would need for their efforts.

    Perfectly stated.
    :)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very well written. You have a special way with words :) Luckily I live in a country that mass shooting and guns aren’t that common… yet, We had one big attack on a lot of youths some years ago though. Pretty gruesome

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I know the attack to which you refer – and I think you are right, gruesome is an apt word to describe it. I think you raise a very important point here, too – these kinds of attacks can happen even in countries where guns aren’t so common, where social systems are perhaps a little more evolved.

      Like

  3. It’s sad how we have become wary of having strong opinions (especially those that go against the mainstream) on anything anymore. So much screaming at each other rather than stepping back and trying to see the bigger picture, which the media is all too eager to obscure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I personally do not see a problem with having strong opinions – and it seems like lots and lots of people have them, as well, hence the screaming at each other that you bring up. I think the problem is not in the opinion, but rather in the way people go about expressing their opinions. We (speaking in a very general sense here) have lost our sense of constructiveness, and wonder why destruction seems so often to fill the void.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally understand your not wanting to wade in with an opinion. I commented elsewhere, on a friend’s blog, actually, that growing up in the Commonwealth, guns were just there. Reading your comments, too, I see that we’re on the same page where having strong opinions is not the same as being aggressive and disrespectful. We’re not all going to agree but we can choose to get along and that is what makes us a civilisation. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have no problems wading in with an opinion – in this case, it just so happens to be my strongest opinion that more needs to be done to heal the fractured state of American society before anyone starts trying to force more legislation to ban or further tighten the controls on guns. I think the media, rather than further sensationalizing the issue, needs to stick with the facts and avoid slinging opinions and polls all over the place. And I think the government needs to stop politicizing the issue, stop blaming either the guns or the the politicians on either side of the issue, and start demonstrating real leadership in mending the apathy, mistrust and in some cases outright fear that seems prevalent in American society. I think only then can a serious conversation about gun ownership take place, one that does not further alienate a group of concerned, mostly law-abiding, gun-owning citizens by trying to group them with a criminal element that they do not belong to. At the same time, I think it’s counterproductive when these same gun-owning citizens feel as though anyone advocating more gun legislation is serving a darker agenda than the desire for peace and harmony that motivates most of them. Like I said, my strongest opinion in this matter is that the dividing factors need to be reduced before the real conversation about gun ownership can begin … as it turns out, Obama’s knee-jerk attempt to use this event to serve his own political agenda, and the backlash this attempt unleashed, would seem to support this perspective.

      At the same time, I must also admit that I do not live in the US, and have not for some time … much of what I must preface my perspectives on is either memory, second-hand from contacts still living in the US, or through the same media outlets I blame for sensationalizing everything.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for clarifying your thoughts. This has been the clearest expression of opinion on the subject that I’ve come across so far. I appreciate it very much and I am glad that I have been able to talk with you about it. Everyone I’ve read so far seems to have a strong emotional attachment to an outcome on the issue and it is going to be difficult to reduce that. If someone were to put their political agenda aside and mediate a discussion in the interest of the public? (Not a broadcast journalist). But, as a realist, I acknowledge that this might never happen.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for drawing me a little further out on this … and I am proud to know that my attempt to clarify actually came across as just that :-) I agree with you, overcoming the strong attachments people have when it comes to this issue will be very hard to do – daunting is the word that comes to mind. But I am convinced that the answer to this problem rests with a government that has thus far seemed more interested in managing, rather than leading; and with a media that seems more inclined to lead / influence with sensationalized opinion and supposition, rather than simply inform with facts. The freedom of the press in America, from what I have read in the history books, was so that the press could inform, not entertain.

        It might be, that even if these conditions are met, that the issue will not be easy to resolve; but I think so long as these conditions aren’t met, the issue will be next to impossible to resolve without making it even worse.

        Liked by 1 person

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