America is Committing Suicide

It’s disgusting that mass gun violence is barely news anymore in the U.S. Aurora, Sandy Hook, Fort Hood (twice), Charleston, Chattanooga, and now Lafayette — all within the past six years. And let’s not forget Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, India Clarke, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Kindra Chapman… the list goes on and on.

What’s really vile is that those are very incomplete lists — just what came to mind in a second without thinking about it more or looking up any incidents. Mass gun violence, police brutality, one-quarter of the world’s prison population… 

America is committing suicide.

I understand Pres. Obama’s frustration (a word that doesn’t even begin to convey the horror we’re inflicting — often with impunity — on ourselves and our communities) with the perpetual violence, the endless breathless news coverage of tragedies that at this point seem just to be playing themselves on repeats, with only the names of the places, the victims, the perpetrator and the numbers changing while the story itself remains tragically familiar. The President is absolutely correct to note that this does not happen elsewhere in the world. The massacre carried out by Anders Breivik in Norway in 2011 had previously been unthinkable in that fairly tranquil country; this review published in the 05 March 2015 New York Review of Books gives a chilling impression of how earth-shattering Breivik’s rampage was. That’s not to say that a massacre of that magnitude wouldn’t be equally devastating were one, god forbid, to occur here, or that we’d view such an event with nonchalance or indifference; the difference is that here, it’s not unthinkable. It’s all too thinkable. I’m also not suggesting that grief expressed here for the “routine” mass shootings is disingenuous or pro forma; Americans are caring and loving people, and we all grieve upon the occurrence of these atrocities. What I am suggesting, stating even, is that they have become routine.

I wish I had an answer. I’m a proponent of some measures of gun control — renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban, limiting the number of rounds in a clip, requiring background checks for would-be gun purchasers, greatly increasing funding for and support of mental health services, body cams for starters. But I’m also not naive; I know those measures are not solutions to the problem, rather mere small measures that one could hope would reduce the body counts. They won’t prevent atrocities. Something evil lurks in the human heart, and for whatever admixture of factors, that urge toward wanton and senseless violence has found another home here in the United States.

All I know with the full conviction of my heart is that something must be done. Somehow we have to find some solution to stop this insanity.

America is committing suicide.

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~ by Benji on 24 July 2015.

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