Yesterday we heard news of our 251st, 252nd and 253rd mass shootings. I don’t need to rehash the details here…..we all know – angry, hateful men with automatic weapons unloading their hatred on crowds of innocent people. People who are innocent in our minds, but guilty in the minds of the murderers for simply being born a certain race, religion, sexual orientation – or whatever other reason these domestic terrorists choose them as their victims.
And terrorists are exactly who and what they are. As our nation claims to be fighting terrorism worldwide, the real terrorism is right here within our own borders, and the terrorists are U.S. citizens – the vast majority of them White. Men.
I could get into the politics of all this, or bring up questions about the second amendment. I could go on and on about the socio-political, psychological roots of domestic terrorism. I could talk about toxic masculinity. I could bring up the fear, hatred, ignorance, etc. that causes one man to hate another. I could discuss the stresses of our culture and the fear and anxiety that cause young men to kill others. I could pull out the millions of threads that are at the heart of violence and hatred in America…
But quite frankly, I’m too f’ing tired.
Yesterday afternoon, I sat on my patio and cried. I wept for every single thing that is wrong with our country and every single thing that has created the environment where 253 mass shootings can take place within a 215 day period. I wept for the victims and their families. I wept for the universal feeling of helplessness where literally the best we can come up with is “thoughts and prayers.”
What are we to do in the face of such a deep, pervasive, systemic issue? Gun control isn’t the only answer. And quite frankly, it might not be the answer. If someone in this country wants to get ahold of a killing weapon, whether they are legal or not, they will find a way to get one. (“The Troubles” in Ireland are a not too distant memory to remind us of how easy it is to get killing machines in a nation where guns are illegal.)
Even more pointedly, shooting people with guns has really nothing to do with guns. It has to do with everything else that creates so much fear or hatred in another human being that they want to kill. It has to do with everything that creates an environment that supports murder as the appropriate outlet. It has to do with everything that deprives human beings of the ability to be formed into healthy, whole individuals with effective tools for managing their anxiety….and everything to do with a culture that supports separation over compassion and love.
In my heart and in my mind, it is our culture that is to blame – a narcissistic, self-centered, materialistic, consumeristic, individualistic, racist, sexist culture where “every man is for himself.”
We have done this to ourselves. We have created the culture and the environment in which it is possible to have 253 mass shootings in 215 days. Seriously……WTF?
I’m tired. Just tired. And if you are reading this, I bet you are too.
Like many I know, I’m at a loss for what to do or how to respond. The best I can do is pray (I do believe in the power of AUTHENTIC prayer) and choose NOT to live in that world. I can make the choice for love, but until those who are part of the pervasive American culture choose otherwise, we will only have more of the same.
Today I’m tired and I’m sad for a world that continues to choose hatred over love, separation over connection, ignorance over understanding and fear over compassion.
I’m just tired.