What were people in fundamentalist Islamic regions of the Middle East doing to each other just before they took up explosive vests? Were mass shootings the last stop before suicide bombings? Are ever-worsening mass shootings an evolutionary phenomenon of a disintegrating society? How long before irate Earth Firsters or right wing American zealots start blowing themselves up in crowded restaurants?
With regards to my Oregon shooting-related comments on homicidal infamy and the American Dream, posted the day before the incident in Connecticut, sick, dumb animals are out there right now paying close attention to the degree to which Adam Lanza’s killing spree has broken America’s heart – and wondering what it’ll take to top it.
Somewhere out there, a feverish, delusional pig is jealous of Adam Lanza and the mind bending national grief for which he’s responsible. Lanza gave us another 9/11, another Columbine, an unthinkable act of violence that sets the clock back to Zero Hour.
Yesterday I overheard someone broadly scolding those of us ignorant of the Syrian children executed by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad’s regime, not to mention those dying every hour of every day in Syrian refugee camps. She asked us, “How long will Americans be able to say, ‘I can’t believe this could happen here’? Yet their sheltered children’s lives will always be of more value than the rest of the world’s.” I understood where she was coming from –that the face of the Syrian child-refugee on her iPad was remarkably similar to many in Newtown– but I also found her approach to be self-defeating.
Still, the woman’s anger made me realize that Adam Lanza also gave us –as if we needed one– another excuse to hate each other. ‘Cause to weigh the value of any children’s lives over others can only invite distrust and disunity. No one asked Lanzapig to inspire sheltered families in Connecticut to learn about the world’s suffering: if people don’t investigate that sort of thing on their own, the discoveries aren’t worth much.
I think, though, that the woman’s spite is just one example of how deep the moral rummaging will go, because unlike September 11th 2001, there’s no Infidel Holy War to finger. We can’t blame Muslims or look suspiciously at religions or cultures other than our own. We can’t call bullshit and lay out the conspiracies, and we can’t (so far) launch another drone. We are the problem.
Yep, there’s only one place to look, and that’s within, at the mirror. This is a genuine three-alarm public health concern. There’s no excuse for not examining the root causes of Chicago’s soaring murder rate, shootouts in Alabama’s hospitals, weapons discharges in California’s parking lots, and twenty dead six-, seven- and eight-year olds in Connecticut.
By sitting around, arguing over the Second Amendment, we do a disservice not only to ourselves, but also to the authors of the Bill of Rights who, by the way, defined the right to bear arms as fundamental, second only to freedom of speech. If those guys were around to witness the standards of public health used by those arguing for that right today, they’d shit their colonial britches and hide their draft writings, debates, and resolutions right along with every other secret of the Masons.
Then they’d run for cover, wondering whether they’ll be next to get picked off by a math whiz and how long it will be before the room-to-room killing of twenty kids and six adults just isn’t fast enough, making explosives the only option for the next defective loner in a long black trench coat.
This isn’t a call for gun control. I’m merely suggesting that we’d better come together soon to start working toward better national mental health, or hyperbole like the Fiscal Cliff will be the least of our problems.
In fact, we’d better do that now.