So everyone is shocked – AGAIN? At the two mass shooters we never heard of…and maybe that’s the trouble? Recall as a child, the kid, Eddie W., who no one spoke with. His bro had gone to jail for joyriding a small airplane; Eddie loved to throw knives at other kids, near them. He was dirty. Since my family had a habit of being open, I talked with Eddie and invited him in the house once. He was uncomfortable and didn’t want to come in again. I learned his Mom had died of cancer and he found her dead in the bathtub; his Dad a loud drunk, probably hit him. Liked to think it mattered we listened to him. He was real for awhile, a somebody. A lot of guys don’t have a way to be part of mainstream; part of anything they respect so self respect is missing (I gather).
Point being: it seemed SOMEBODY had to notice Eddie or he would become a hater (at least this is what I thought). And this sort of reasoning, that our empathy is needed to reach hurt people, hopefully BEFORE they harm themselves or others. Reasonable assumption loads of people are taking on.
ADBusters this issue has a RADICAL EMPATHY article. A guy befriended an elderly couple about to get their old car repoed and paid their bill. Not really hard to do, no? But who thinks of that? Author then points out if techie systems were applied, the couple’s car could just have been made inoperable remotely. Oh, joy! The robots are coming. Had hoped for more from ADBusters, but this issue ends with Friday Sept. 13th, A BILLION ACTS OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE – WHAT WILL YOU DO? Referring you to abillionpeople.org…hmmm…great way to go on a black list? Not QUITE ready to sign up! But paying attention. So many crises – will take a billion people standing up for COMPASSION…
“My religion is simple,” says the Dalai Lama “It is kindness.” Feels exactly right way to recover the planet and its people to a state of peace or at least acceptance of each other.
Why have we more crazy shooters than any other country? Tension IS building over income inequality, lack of stable/living wage jobs, military buildup, potential for nuclear war, irreversable climate crisis if we DON’T act skillfully at SPEED and SCALE.
For guys (is every shooter a guy?) all this uneven footing is exacerbated by – yes – the robots are coming; multitudes of jobs now shaky will simply go to machines needing no sleep, no food. Great for rich capitalists! Not so good for truck drivers, factory workers, those who thought they’d have a steady job and raise a family. The American Dream becomes the Impossible Dream and some, who can carry a gun, who can become fixated on “leaders” who tell them they can be a “Grand Dragon” (Klan) or go to heaven with 17 virgins (Talaban?) becoming a shooter is better than being dead while alive. No where to go becomes Fast Eddie at the Mall, shooting his heart out, often then shooting himself in despair. And that’s the word: despair.
The NRA blocks progress toward gun reform and our President DT acts belligerent and does essentially nothing.
What is to be done? Many ask; some have some answers, none that change much immediately.
The New Yorker is running four related stories in the current issue. One theme stands out:
BY ADAM ROGERS
Researchers have clear policy suggestions on how to see fewer gun deaths. They’d have many more, if they weren’t starved for funding and data. Heard this this week on NPR – an interview with a scientist I can’t locate – saying we severely underfund research into causes of hate crimes and gun violence.
Mother Jones, in it’s Addicted to Hate article talks about Shane Johnson, a decendent of several generations of Klansmen, whose son will not follow that path. Shane was lucky enough to connect to a woman who’s friendship offered far more than the promised becoming a “Grand Dragon” in the Klan. “We cannot vilify racists, but we can vilify rascism,” says Pardeep Keleka, whose father was killed by a neo-nazi.
Obviously, there is no one answer – and the long shots are not guaranteed – but we have to move away from the trajectory we seem to be on – to a madmax world none of us want to live in.