October 29, 2018
How Much More?
I can absorb only so much horror and experience so much disgust until I must relieve some of the pressure. I can yell and pound my fists on the nearest hard table. I can take a sabbatical from reading the front section of the morning paper.
And, I can write something that breaks away from my normal post topics.
Pipe bombs mailed to political targets. Is this a step in our "evolution" that cannot be taken back? Is killing of opponents now on the table? Is assuming, even for a second, that the targets of the bombs did it themselves as a political ploy a leap of conspiracy theorizing that should never see the light of day, but did?
Synagogue killings in Pittsburgh. What level of hate must someone possess to do this? What could possibly have been the lifetime of built up delusions and lies to cause a human mind to warp to this degree? What rational mind would suggest that the best answer is an armed guard to prevent the massacre?
Grocery Store shooting. Two people shot to death at a grocery store in Kentucky, simply because they were black. Two lives gone, simply for being in a place where another human being, so full of distorted rage, decided it was his right to end their existence due to the color of their skin.
And, the event this past week that finally pushed me over the edge: a lock-down at my grandkids' school: Police, SWAT team members, terrified children, frantic parents left outside the school buildings with no information for 40 minutes, imaging the worst.
My grandson huddled behind chairs, one day after his 12th birthday, praying that this wouldn't be his last day on earth. My granddaughters staring at police with weapons and body armor, desperately wanting mommy. Mommy, in her car in the parking lot, watching police arrive, with no way of knowing the fate of her children, becoming more terrified and distraught by the minute.
It turned out a youngster brought a toy gun to school, one that was designed to look exactly like a real 9mm weapon. All ended with no injuries, at least physical ones. Mentally, the children's safe world had been invaded and made deadly for a time. "This is the new normal" became the summary.
96 Americans are shot and killed every single day. In two days that would equal my high school graduating class. Yes, people who should not have guns will always find a way to get one. Yes, we have the right to bear arms for sport and self defense. But, that argument loses its power when that "right" is abused so constantly and when the answer is always, more guns.
This post has very little to do with gun control. It has to do with impulse control. It has to do with the hate that is flowing freely all around us.Our nation is being torn apart not by different opinions but by different visions of reality and truth. Words that once meant the same thing to all of us now serve to separate us, violently and with malice.
Too many leaders have zero concern for the long term health of society. All is about power, ego and image, the next election or next political "win." The ultimate short game is only appealing if there are winners and losers...for some even losing isn't enough..it must be elimination.
We are becoming an of an out-of-control, self-absorbed and delusional, reality-deficient society. Every single one of us is just a moment away from becoming another statistic for no other reason than being at the wrong place at the wrong time, holding a particular set of views, or exercising our First Amendment rights.
Yes, the individuals who killed the people in Pittsburgh and the Kentucky grocery store were mentally sick. Yes, the man who allegedly mailed the pipe bombs was seriously out of control. And, yes, killings like this occur with shocking regularity throughout our nation's history. They are not "owned" by any one political party, viewpoint, or time in history.
But, the number of hate crimes over the last few years, and the frequency that insane conspiracy theories are given plausibility by media, both public and social, is clearly a reflection of how we now talk and think about each other.
We have created a world where instant communication means instant dissemination of the most violent, implausible, ridiculous claims and counterclaims. Stories and fictionalized scenarios that we wouldn't accept in a crime novel, are given credence and believability, instantly, and with no take back or serious thought.
America is a strong country. We have a history of overcoming problems that would have destroyed a less stable system. But, every empire, every major power, eventually fades from view. That is the reality of history. It is either destroyed by an an outside enemy, or a moral collapse within. This is beginning to feel like the latter.
How much more can our present day situation remain unchanged before we cross a point of no return? I wish I had an answer.
For now, I only have a deep, deep feeling of disappointment and fear in the pit of my stomach.
Your thoughts and comments are encouraged.