This past week has been fucking crazy in America, folks are just losing their ever loving minds. Last week and if I am wrong, please let me know..we had the fellow in NY state who killed 13 before taking his own life. I was still reeling from hearing about that when I heard of the fellow in WA state who killed all 5 of his kids before taking his own life. Lastly there was the fellow who killed 3 police officers in PA.
Like many others, I fear that these acts of violence are so normal that deep down, do any of us care? Unless we have a personal connection, most likely not. I am just old enough at 36 to remember when this type of killing was not the norm, shit I remember the Columbine tragedy and how the nation was just blown away. Now its so normal that I swear the news barely keeps us up to date, since just last weekend a man in a southern state walked in a nursing home and shot up the joint. That story didn’t get much play…
What I find fascinating is that in many of the cases of the past several months in particular is that behind each killer is a human who suffered a loss, losses seem to range from jobs, to families and in the PA case some fear that guns would be taken away. While we are living in some crazy economic times, truth is we have been here before. I was 10 years old the last time the unemployment rate was this high and my dad had no job and we were real broke, so I know we have seen this before. That was the year my parents got food from a food pantry and the beginning of my distinct hate for english muffins…the pantry had tons of those. I also remember the bottle of chocolate syrup that had expired, treats were a rarity at that stage so having that bottle of syrup be bad was a memory that I will always remember. My point in sharing this is not to make you feel bad for me but to remind folks we need to chill the fuck out. Rough financial waters are not a new thing, its just that its been a while since we have been here.
Problem is in the last decade we have created this fantasy that we can have it all, no longer is it enough to just have the basics, we all want to live like the rich, the famous, the powerful….our national religion became shopping, our center of worship was the mall. Yet its over…picnic in the park has been rained on. Its time for a new reality and we need it quickly, yet in addition to that new reality we also need to reach out and make connections.
Look, I’m just a chick in Maine who likes to run my mouth but the fact that since the mid to late 1990’s people have had less involvement im their communities (check out the book Bowling Alone), more involved online and a rise in the type of mass murders such as the ones this weekend. It does not take a Ph.D to say that maybe part of the issue is that folks no longer have the sort of relationships and connections that are valuable when facing a life crisis. Even in my own circle, I find it fascinating how little people discuss money even when folks don’t have jobs, folks put on the happy face. Well I will admit I have a tendency to let it out, I am already prone to stress, keeping it bottled up would do me no good.
No, in these hard times we need to rely on one another, I am not saying a friend would stop someone from killing but I have to believe that if someone had a support system, they would be less inclined to go on a killing spree. If we were able to talk openly and honestly, maybe fewer of us would reach our breaking points. Sadly I see more of the type of senseless killings happening in the future and not less.
Not to step on the toes of the NRA, but maybe we as a nation need to reevaluate our love affair with owning guns. I know…its allowed in the constitution and while yes guns can serve a good purpose when we are hunting for food and stopping intruders and those who mean us harm, how many more lives would be saved if no one owned guns?
After all lets not forget the bang bang sound of our youth while harmless when playing with our toy guns didn’t lead to the ,the reality is that real guns have the capacity to harm real people.