Stop the insanity
April 9, 2014 | Two disturbing sets of images dominated today's news: a school stabbing in Pennsylvania and a memorial service in Texas.
The Pennsylvania school stabbing followed a now familiar script: student runs amok and stabs everyone within reach, chaos and panic reign, police and medics converge on the scene, cable news cranks up the Breaking News engine.
There are the breathless "reports" (that is, passing on rumors) and "interviews" of witnesses (some far removed from the actual scene).
Emergency vehicles arriving at the scene arrive again and again in an endless video loop.
At the same time, the president was boarding Air Force One to speak at a memorial for the three service men gunned down in a bloody rampage last week.
In Texas, a now-familiar script was played out: stirring words to honor the dead, pledges of fidelity forever to the survivors and their needs, sober and stoic comrades in arms standing stiffly at attention, and words from the Comforter-in-Chief.
The president has been called upon far too often to help grieving communities understand the un-understandable.
Like the other massacres on military bases, these were not war casualties but casualties of the after-war, the deep trauma many service men and women bring home with them. Certainly many cope more-or-less on their own, but it is obvious that many others desperately need help that they are not getting.
Despite the escalating violence across the country, lawmakers have done almost nothing to stem the tide. In fact, they've made things worse: nearly half the states now have some version of a "stand-your-ground" law, first enacted by Florida in 2005. It is now legal to carry concealed handguns in all fifty states! Even in the wild, wild west guns had to be checked at the saloon door, but at least seven states now allow guns in bars and churches. It is breathtaking that anyone thinks mixing guns with religion and alcohol is a good idea.
There are some very ugly trends working themselves out in American culture: senseless violence, taking away assistance to the needy (such as the unemployed, underemployed, undernourished) while enriching the wealthy, governmental dysfunction, influence peddling by big business and the superwealthy, etc. etc. etc.
Unfortunately, I don't see anything on the horizon that will break the momentum of these trends.
Last updated on Apr 29, 2016