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.