not in our stars, but in ourselves
It happened again. A disturbed young man opened fire on unarmed, unprepared, unsuspecting civilians. As Obama said last night: it will probably happen again, as it’s kept happening every few months, unless and until we get serious about gun control. He implored news organizations to publish the statistics of deaths by terrorism versus deaths by gunfire; while some American news organizations have done so, they’re mostly focusing on the more sensational aspects of this particular incident. There’s more measured analysis abroad, as usual; hell, even The Daily Mail is doing a better job than most American news reports.
For all Obama’s urging, however, there won’t be any gun control. There won’t be any reform. Unfortunately for all of us, Congress makes the laws; and even more unfortunately, Congress has been in the throes of what we might call catastrophic erectile dysfunction (to borrow a useful phrase from The Thick of It) for the past 10-15 years. You have to wonder at these elected officials who prioritize pandering to the lunatic fringe more than trying to ensure that they make their homes and the country at large a better place; who would rather accept fat donations from lobbyists (like the NRA) than work hard at making laws that make sense. America was founded on deeply idealist principles, but those are too weak to stand up to reality. This hasn’t ever not been the case, but it gets clearer and clearer, the more time drags on.
I don’t know what to say, really. Everything is so broken: the government, the healthcare industry, the nation’s psyche. If we had a government that took its law-making seriously, imagine how much better off we’d be. If we had healthcare that was fully available to all U.S. citizens – for their bodies and their minds – imagine how much better off we’d be. If our “news” media didn’t pander to the lowest common denominator, emphasizing division and bloodshed and screaming heads instead of analysis and comprehension, imagine how much better off we’d be. But we are where we are, and I don’t like the path we’re heading down.
I work in a school myself. I’ve found myself wondering, more and more, what I’d have to do if some psychotic young man (don’t even argue with me about this; toxic masculinity is literally killing us all) came storming into my building and opened fire. Would I have any time to do anything? What would be my best chances to escape the building? It makes me feel awfully sad and tired to have to think about this, just as it makes me feel sad and tired and angry to have to consider the best possible ways to disarm/outrun/counter-attack a rapist (and those thought exercises are common to nearly every woman) – but it’s clear that I’m better off trying to prepare myself for what may well be inevitable.
We are sick. I don’t know if there’s any cure.