Another day in America, and another mass shooting. Today its San Bernardino, and it will be big news for the next 48 to 72 hours. Then we will collectively move on. We live in a country that has had so many mass shootings this year alone that we don’t even hear about many of them on the news. People say this doesn’t happen in other countries, I think it probably does maybe not as often, but that is really beside the point. I am an American, what happens here is my first concern.
I grew up in the deep south and I currently live in Arizona, I know guns, and I’ve lived the gun culture my entire life. I shot guns before I could drive, I own a gun today. I’ve been part of organizations that pushed for less gun control, I have friends that open carry. I have decried liberals and moderates who pushed for “common sense” gun control.
What I haven’t done is ever lost anyone I love to gun violence.
I have children, young children, and I worry about where we are headed. I worry that we don’t know what has brought us to this point in our society that we can’t even discuss this issue without it exploding into a left right argument. There seemingly can be no common ground, both sides are accused of supporting evil, all while people are being put in the ground daily from gun violence.
Perspectives change, and far too often they change when we are confronted with something life altering. I can’t say that though at least not personally. I haven’t been robbed or shot at, nobody I love or even know has either, but I am still concerned. Sitting outside at a restaurant a few nights ago, I could only think about the Paris shootings and looked around and thought how easily it could happen right where I sat. Then I realized that if something like that were to happen to me or to my family, we would just be more numbers and more political pawns. We’d still be just as dead though.
All that being said, I am not really scared for myself. I don’t believe in living in fear of the what ifs, I don’t believe in hiding from the unknown. Mainly because I realize the odds of something like that happening to me are slim. I do realize though that it will happen to someone, and then it will happen again to someone else.
So what do we do? Its obvious that the pro gun side will never be convinced that there is a problem with the culture. We saw a reporter and a cameraman murdered live on the air this year in Virginia and it didn’t seem to phase us. So I am not sure that there is anything that will. I also think its obvious that the anti gun crowd will never understand the reasoning behind wanting to own a gun, and how important that freedom is to us as a nation. I certainly don’t want to take any honest American’s gun away, but I also don’t want to continue to lose innocent people to these situations on a near daily basis.
Certainly the problem is more than guns, and certainly its not just a mental health problem. The truth is, we just don’t care about our fellow man anymore, I mean at all. We don’t have sympathy for the ones lost to violence and we don’t have sympathy for the ones who for whatever reason go over the edge and pull the trigger. As I write this we don’t know all the facts of the shooting, exactly who or why but that really isn’t what this is about. Our culture just doesn’t care about anyone.
We live in a world where the good that mankind does is really only for social media posts, and likes. We only care about people if it will turn into a viral story or video, we rarely do things out of the kindness of our hearts anymore if we did we wouldn’t take pictures of the homeless veteran we just gave a dollar meal to and post it on Facebook. We would’t feel the need to tweet every time we volunteered at the food bank.
Offering empty thoughts and prayers hasn’t fixed anything yet, and I doubt it ever will. Until we start caring about each other this epidemic will continue unabated. We have to stop just looking to place blame when bad happens, we have to start caring long before then.
The empathy that we had as a nation is gone, it seems daily that people become more bitter, more vitriol, more angry. We’ve turned on each other like dogs, we cant even drive to work without altercations. We seem less enlightened than ever, we are slipping into another dark age. Logic, reason, science and human kindness are scoffed at. Ignorance is the new American way, hatred is the new religion, honest discourse is not allowed.
I don’t know how we fix this, I don’t even know if we want to.