Yesterday two television reporters were gunned down while doing a live broadcast. If history repeats, I suspect we will see horrific murder headlines and testimonials from those touched by the victims in their brief time on earth. We will analyze how the killer used a GoPro to film the carnage …how he was able to upload footage onto social media within minutes of the crime…and speculate what might go through the minds of other mentally deranged killers as they see the number of views grow online. Once more we will balance the heartache with a shrine of wilting flowers and weathered messages and move on. When will we stop being silenced by misery and say we’ve had enough?
Gun control is never far from any conversation these days. Everyone has an opinion concerning their right to bear arms. It seems we have become a country hell-bent on protecting our Second Amendment rights, even at the possible expense of infringing upon other equally important ones. The ginned up fear of a massive government takeover prevents a practical dialogue from really getting started. Even with the unspeakable dismemberment of school children, a fog hovers over what a majority supports.
I’d admit I come from a gun slinging family. My father made no secret that he was packing heat. It was an old pistol from the Civil War my great-grandfather pulled off a dead soldier. My dad kept it in his underwear drawer. Psychologically he felt better pointing an unloaded relic at a robber than threatening a fistfight. Frankly, I thought we’d have a better chance loading his briefs like a slingshot than pointing that antique pistol at a crazed crook.
When I was a kid disputes were settled on the playground. Then after the dust settled, hard feelings were mostly dropped. But times have changed. Now differences can turn into deadly feuds as people stockpile ammunition and semi-automatic rifles capable of firing 100 rounds per minute. With an outlandishly easy pull of an index finger, a disgruntled lost soul can unleash devastating lethality from a disengaged distance. Blurring the line between real life and video games, they compete for the highest scores and a shot at notoriety.
To be sure our deteriorating social and moral fabric is being challenged. We are abandoning the simplicity of human interaction and losing a connection with ourselves…our kids…our planet…in the name of progress. Of course it is great to have all the newest gadgets to communicate with one another without being face-to-face, but at the end of the day our human instinctual side needs contact…physical, spiritual and mental. We are starting to see consequences of abandoning the soul-feeding personal touch…in favor of a tweet, a text, or an email. It’s no wonder there is a growing percentage of kids who feel rudderless and ostracized. The resulting alienation is being treated with an array of pharmaceuticals whose side effects often include the very problem they are prescribed to alleviate. Technology is leaving our human physical side in the dust, and the connectedness that was for thousands of years a staple of our existence is being pawned cheaply for glitz, internet speed, and firepower.
If this is truly a democracy by and for the people, and is the model we hold up for the world to admire as we spread it peacefully, and otherwise…we’d better take a good look at where this little 200 year old experiment is heading. I’m not so sure that a nation driven by fear, divided by the powers that be, and semi-automatically armed to the teeth sounds like the one we hear so often touted as, “The greatest country in the history of the world.”