Thursday, December 03, 2015

Where is America going?

Today a local high school was on lockdown because a student fired a gun at a fight at an adjacent McDonald’s—apparently he fired in the air and no one was hurt. But two high school students are jailed tonight—the second for bringing an air gun on campus. This is the school my niece and nephew attended, across the street from Central Market, a store I frequent. And today in a blog a former minister of my church recalled the night we were all at a board meeting and heard continuing sirens—someone had killed several people at a local church. It doesn’t just happen in San Bernadino folks, it happens all around us.

I have thought from time to time that America is ripe for revolution. I don’t know what form it would take, and I didn’t want to dwell on it but I guess I always thought it would be the poor rising against the terribly unequal distribution of wealth in this country, probably with racial overtones since the poor tend to be minorities—or what is rapidly becoming the majority. Rich old white men are going to lose their grasp.
But now I think revolution is upon us. It doesn’t just come from Muslims—I’ve heard conflicting reports about whether the San Bernadino shooter was American-born or here on a visa. But it comes from our neighbors, from the angry high school student, from the alienated man who shot up a church in Fort Worth, from the disturbed (putting it mildly) young man who shot all those children at Sandy Hook. Violence is all around us, and I wonder how as a society we got to this point.

I think I go back to the inequity of life in this country. Yes, we alienated a lot of Middle Easterners with our senseless invasion of Iraq (I hope you all saw that Dick Cheney was honored today with a statue commemorating his bring an end to terrorism—irony reigns supreme!). And yes, we had no after-conquest plan for helping the people of Iraq, which allowed ISIS to flourish. But the shooters in this country are mostly native-born and Anglo. We can’t keep on blaming Muslims.

We can blame Congress for blocking the President’s efforts at gun control. And we can blame the NRA for the senseless argument that we’d be safer if more people had guns. Tell me, truly, if you had been in that center in California with a gun, how successful would you have been against two crazed people with automatic assault guns? In Texas, we can blame a legislature that approved open-carry, even on campuses. If high school students bring out guns for an off-grounds fight, what do you think will happen at a drunken college frat party? We have let guns become way too much a part of our culture.

So, really, those are my two thoughts—we have disenfranchised so many citizens, and we have let guns become commonplace. Don’t talk to me about the Second Amendment—it was written in far different times and calls for a well-regulated militia.

Yes, I’m afraid. Afraid for my children and grandchildren, friends and neighbors. I see my local grandson off to school every morning with a catch in my throat. And yes, I’m angry. In this season where peace and love should prevail, I fear they are not enough. What can we as a society do about it? I don’t know, but I haven’t heard much come out of Washington that makes sense. Paul Ryan says we can’t stop people on the no-fly list from owning guns because it would violate their civil rights. President Obama, in the face of his many off-the-wall critics, makes the most sense but he’s fighting a corrupt legislature.

God help us all!


1 comment:

Vicki Lane said...

Yes. Well said.