Monday, October 02, 2017

Another Day of Infamy

By now, I doubt there’s an American who has not heard the news: 512 people shot, 58 killed, by a single gunman. We don’t know his motive, probably never will. It seems likely that he was severely emotionally or psychologically damaged, although his family seems unaware of any such history. His father was once on the FBI Most Wanted list—what, if anything, does that have to do with today’s horrific event?

On Facebook today, the mood of the country seemed resigned to “This is the kind of country we live in.” The only developed country that has such mass shootings—though never this large before—on a regular basis: we average two a month. And citizens feel we can do nothing to change it. I reject that thinking. We can and must change it.

Ten days after the shooting of school children in Newton, Connecticut, support for stricter gun control began to fade as the horror of that massacre faded from the public mind. We seem to have short memories for that which is unpleasant or uncomfortable. By ten days later, a CNN poll showed that 52% of Americans opposed stricter gun control.

Will that happen again? Americans right now are stunned horrified. There will undoubtedly be a call for stricter gun control. But will it last? It seems to me we face a choice: Do you want to take a knee with the NFL or do you want to shrug in resignation when a man shoots over 500 people. For me, today’s event dramatizes the choice in characters that faces our nation. While this massacre was not racially motivated, or so we assume, it demonstrates the unleashed violence of our culture, the violence that football players are peacefully protesting.

Change begins at the local level, with each one of us. Will you stand silently by and shrug or will you take a knee?


Anonymous said...

Very well put.

If I was King for a day and was tasked with ending these tragedies, I would have to admit that I would not have any idea where to begin. I guess some simple answers are not so simple when closely examined , ban all weapons? Ok, how do we get back the weapons that are out there? other countries where the guns laws are the strictest are sometimes the unsafest (see Mexico) and if the thugs are the only ones who have weapons, would that makes us safer in our own home if they know law abiding citizens are unarmed?

Another layer, as you mention, the taking a knee stand, are players taking a knee this weekend against (perceived) police brutality? police who neutralized the shooter and I'm sure saved many lives while risking their own? Michael Bennet and very vocal supporter of Kapernick, was detained for 7 minutes by the Las Vegas police as the police responded to a report of a shooting inside a casino in La Vegas (you can look what transpired that led to him been detained), Bennet left the scene and shook hands with the officers, two weeks later he held a news conference at which he stated that Las Vegas police were racist and had singled him out for harsh treatment. On Friday camera footage from 229 cameras (body cameras, casino cameras) which showed the total opposite of what Bennet had accused the Las Vegas police department of doing was a complete lie.
The mass shooting was despicable act, sometimes I feel like a cleansing of sorts sometimes has to occur in our nation to realize what is important in this country. We live in the best country on earth, yet divisiveness could bring an end to this nation as we know it.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants
Thomas Jefferson

Judy Alter said...

First of all, I reject the Thos. Jefferson quote--you can't tell me those concert goers had to die for the sake of refreshing our liberty. That was by no means a cleansing. Gun control might be a step toward cleansing.

Australia pretty much banned all guns in the '90s and had a gigantic and successful buy-back. Since then their record of gun deaths is zilch. As I said, I think we have to allow hunters (thought I'm not a fan) and self-protection, at least in your own home (though that opens the question of kids shooting people, etc.).
The players are in the narrow sense taking a knee to protest police brutality against people of color--a fact that thought some deny it is very real. But in a larger sense, I think you can say they're protesting the culture of violence and racism we live in. Racism is nothing new in America, but it's been underground, a dirty little secret. Trumpf has brought it out into the open and as it were make it a legit.

Anonymous said...

Chicago (so far in 2017):
499 shot and killed
2403 shot (wounded)
Total shot: 2902
Total homicides: 536

Most by members of their own race (as with most crime). The police are not the problem.

Judy Alter said...

See the clip now on Facebook of then-President Obama addressing this very problem in the city he (and I) calls home. The fault is laid squarely at the feet of the NRA who has conditioned gun-owners to think the slightest move toward control means someone is going to take away all of everybody's guns. Not what's meant.