I have stated in the past here that I support the second amendment. I wanted to make sure that this is clear at the beginning.
When I was young, before I started high school there was this thing called a seriel killer. These were people like Bundy, Gacey and Manson. They were a new phenomena, This isn’t to say that this type of thing hadn’t happened in the passed. It was just that it was so rare as to not be significant. In the late 60s and early 70s it became significant. It was a trend. I suppose there are always predators in our midst.
It seems to me, I have no sources to quote here, that this type of crime began to fall off sometime in the 90s. I always thought that the Vietnam war had something to do with it and it just took that long for the curse to work its way out. That war was a war of aggression. It was about control. It was ugly and our military was largely conscript. Of course that could be utter bullshit. It just as easily could have been due to the presence of lead in the atmosphere. You know, from leaded gasoline.
All of this is simply prelude.
Over the last two decades there has been a rise in this thing people and the media call Mass Shootings. Again these acts happened before. Back in the 80s it was called going postal. These early shootings most often happened at work places. Not that schools or churches were exempt. They were just less common. There were explanations at the time as to the whys of the event. They were highly individualized. It was unusual to hear the term disgruntled employee. These crimes seemed to be rage related. A final straw that broke the camels back incident. I haven’t really researched this so I might be very wrong and or terribly biased. For simplicity’s sake lets just say that these mass shootings were not only rarer but also different in nature. This doesn’t excuse the incidents. We are talking about degrees. I am also letting you know that I have lived here in our fair country for some time. I have memory, as faulty as it may be.
This trend in mass shootings over the last two decades though is different. It seems to be hyper predatory. Serial criminals were predatory too but their crimes were committed in private. Their targets were vulnerable individuals like the elderly, those that lived alone, prostitutes, the inexperienced youth. These were often the kind of individuals that would not be missed. These new events that the media calls Mass Shootings are more like a spectacle. Their target looks to be more often than not crowds. These things are real attention grabbers. Even those on the internet can’t help but to talk about them. The targets are often schools, places of worships, night clubs, concerts and other public places where crowds gather. They seemed to be designed to create panic during the incident and gather the most attention. They look as if they are designed to cause the greatest possible fear among the citizenry and the media appears to amplify this effect. The news coverage often describes so political motive or ascribes some type of mental health history. That allows for the label of terrorism which may be true but I don’t understand it as such. What effect are these killings hoping to achieve?
There would be a tendency for one at this point to drift into some Conspiracy Theory. This is understandable as the crimes described are so hard to understand.
Some of these Mass Shootings are so frightening and disturbing to the public that the government must weigh in on them. Some declare that there is need for more and stricter gun control. Others insist that there is need for more funding to mental health services. There is some arguing over which is more important, just enough arguing until some distraction comes along and the disaster disappears from the public consciousness until it happens again. It seems as if this phenomena is beginning to be accepted as normal which I believe is what is referred to as normalization. This is not to say that nothing has been done as some states have passed red flag laws. Still this is nothing more than the treatment of a symptom.
I wonder about the Federal Government sometimes. It seems to me that as a group, in the most general sense they are most afraid to do anything that would upset the domestic status quo. That they want to do as little as possible other than cut taxes and increase military spending. It feels as though their livelihood depends on doing as little as possible. That actually following through on any statement about possible solutions to this problem might cost them in the next election.
I personally feel that both mental health and simply supplying enough cash to enforce all ready existing gun control regulations would be a good start. These though only treat the symptoms. I honestly think that we have not dealt with the cause. There is this term, Gun Culture. I don’t understand what it means. I don’t know anyone that worships guns. I haven’t heard of any gun holidays or parties you have to bring a gun to. But the in film criticism there is the term Male Gaze. That took me two years in which to gain some understanding. Academics and the academically minded tend to speak in a code that leaves the rest of us out of the conversation. It could be just a way of stating that we Americans are violent. It could be that all people are violent by nature.
I don’t know. Are we Americans violent?
Do we have the right to kill other people and if we as a group don’t have this right do some of us under certain circumstances have that right? Well. women have the right to choose, at least in most states. Is terminating a pregnancy violent? I think in the simplest of terms it is taking a human life. There fore I think it is violent. I support a woman’s right to choose but I can also admit that it is a violent act.
What about the death penalty? Is that violent? We can say that our death penalty is humane but that does not change the fact that it is a premeditated act of killing or murder. We can agree murder is violent whether you support the death penalty or not. I generally don’t support the death penalty but I also don”t actively work against it. It is like I said with a woman’s right to choose, just because we agree with a policy we should still be able to be honest with ourselves.
Police related shootings are obviously not premeditated but they are violent. I have felt for some time that the internet has been amplifying the number of police related killings. That the reality is that they haven’t actually been increasing as a percentage of population. I don’t know this. I haven’t done the research. It is just a feeling. There is a problem with this feeling though. The idea that the rate of police related homicides hasn’t increased. That we simply didn’t know or if we did we didn’t care is alarming.
I think that it is safe to say that our military possesses the largest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction of any group or nation on God’s little green earth. This fact is a statement about the intent to do something very violent. Does that massive ever present arsenal create some unknown complex in our national sub conscious?
When we look at our governments foreign policy it is hard not to notice that we (in the national sense) tend to support groups and nations that are engaged in violent activity. We ourselves, as recent history has shown, willfully engage in the use of military force to achieve our policy goals. As I have said previously, the individual is free to take what ever position they feel strongest about, this is something like a democracy after all. It appears to me that the state can easily engage in violence as it sees fit.
This is not the results of some scientific study. This is just how things look from where I sit. It is simply a statement of what appears to be obvious to me. That we are a violent people. Maybe all humans are violent but I have never lived any where else. We can have a long conversation about how we got here, to this place. We can look at the custom of the open hand whether it is over head, at the side or waving a greeting or farewell. We even offer an open hand in friendship with a hand shake. These motions, I have heard it said, are a sign that a person is not armed. That they are vulnerable. A handshake is an indication that both are unarmed and vulnerable. I have always heard that this tradition comes from Europe but I can’t say that I know that to be so. Simply put it is a tradition in my country, America. The idea that there would be a need for such a thing indicates a wild and violent nature that is in the very least we subconsciously acknowledge.
Whether this violence is part of the nature we were born with or is a thing we have learned or even some combination of the two. This though doesn’t matter for the point I am trying to make. People, individuals, are complex beings. The vast majority of our own minds are unknown to us. There are impulses and influences that contribute to how we think and how we perceive the world and our role in it. We often obscure the darker less pleasant aspects of our own self, our own motives. In essence we lie to ourselves. Sophisticated people can use this mental habit against us and mislead us. This is rarely for our own benefit.
If we believe that we are the bestest, the brightest and the most free people, nation, group of individuals but we are not willing to look at the monster that lies with in then we are unaware. We create monsters out of the others, those that are not ours who are otherwise just like us. We build enemies out of rage and paper or stand in fear of shadows with gun in hand. Being moral, even if it is just one moral is hard. There is risk in such behavior. Being moral means having less, less money, less food, less medical care, less security and less recognition. It is a quiet thing.
In the very least, if we cannot admit that we are a violent people. That this violence sometimes makes up our minds for us, decides our course of action, then maybe we aren’t grown up enough to own fire arms of any kind.
I find this conclusion uncomfortable as I have supported the second amendment my whole life. I still support it, if we are adult enough to have the right.
I don’t know. It just a thought.
Have a better than average day.