Dangit. Guns happened again.
At least that’s how some people look at it. Guns are out of control. The proliferation of guns in the United States is the reason for the recent rash of mass shootings. How many guns do people need? How many have to die?
It is mind boggling that a man can walk into a movie theater (again) and start shooting randomly, and avoid responsibility. Instead of looking at the man, we look at the implement. Instead of taking a hard look at a culture of declining morals and gratuitous violence we think about writing laws to make weapons harder to obtain.
Never mind for the moment the shocking ignorance and willful blindness to a culture of violence that is so apparent in this one week alone, that only insidious political motives can be at the root of it. Last week a man shot five active duty military personnel at recruiting posts, but gun control was not the hysteric cry. Even last night, shortly before the shooting in Louisiana took place, President Obama wrung his hands on national television and bemoaned his inability to make progress on “common sense gun safety laws”, all the while declining to tie the comment to the Chattanooga shooting. That shooting falls within a different narrative, upon which he does not want to cast light.
On Wednesday (just one day earlier) two teens stabbed 5 people to death in Oklahoma. This made the news, but it did not make the political circuit. No one attempted to capitalize on this tragedy or make political hay. What made this crime different?
Perhaps most troubling is the shortcuts we have come to accept in our thinking when we read a news story. Too often the BBC or NPR or NBC do the thinking for us. It is hard not to sense something like elation in the media at each new tragedy. Why do they love these crimes? Many, many people died tragic deaths yesterday. Some to disease, some to traffic accidents, some to murder. Why does only this crime produce the glitz and glamour, and are we foolish enough to think it does not contribute to a sick culture and produce more murders?
We should be deeply troubled by random murders. Who isn’t? Instead of looking to our leaders to save us, maybe we ought to look at the dying church, the media love affair with gun crime, Grand Theft Auto and the Dark Knight, bookstores closing, libraries moving bookshelves out to make room for more gaming computers, mental illness, depression, and a lack of love in our broken down families. Hatred, and violence do not exist in the handle of a knife, or the barrel or trigger of a gun. Violence lives in the heart and in the mind. Focusing anywhere else is not only a futile effort, but it is usually a result of questionable political motive.