First I’d like to say that my heart truly goes out to the victims and the families of the victims and the whole community of Aurora, Colorado. I hope they find understanding and healing. I’m writing this blog today because of a few things. One, I find it hard to be shocked about what has happened, especially with the way America viciously protects the “right” to bear arms. Two, we live in a culture that finds violence and death imagery entertaining. And three, being sad will not change anything, mourning as a nation will not change anything, only addressing the REAL issues that cause tragedies like this will prevent it from happening again.
It is hard to be shocked, hearing a mentally disturbed person got his hands on some serious weaponry and decided to be “the Joker”. He shot 70 people, threw TEAR GAS into the audience and killed 12 people. The right to bear arms comes before the right not to starve in this country, so of course it comes before the right to mental health. James Holmes, an intelligent but anti-social loner, embraced the theatre of a violent movie. Somehow he was able to buy 4 guns, a bullet proof vest, a gas mask and tear gas. He entered a movie theatre and used the tear gas to flush people out into the aisles and began to kill them. He PLANNED his attack and even booby trapped his apartment. These are not the actions of a man who has full use of his mental facilities yet he got his hands on several guns. There is a popular saying “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” and it has been used to protect the gun industry. Yes this is true, but lax gun laws that allow people who are mentally disturbed to buy guns are irresponsible. The reality of the situation is that the gun industry is more worried about protecting profit than keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally disturbed; or even keeping guns out of the hands of people who use them for criminal purposes. And who pays in the long run for the ferocious protection of this right to bear arms? Innocent movie goers, mall patrons, children at school etc. that’s who. There seems to be a serious disconnect between the access to guns and the actual USE of them. I’d like to know how many gun related deaths actually had to do with an individual protecting themselves or their property. I’d wager it is FEW. The right to bear arms was originally about protecting freedom…yet now it is about protecting a person’s “right” to VIOLENCE. How can America be so shocked when it happily provides the guns and ammunition to fuel a society that is already obsessed with violence?
We live in a culture that makes death and violence entertaining. Violent video games, books, movies, tv shows, even some commercials glorify violence. We see it every day, all the time, death is NORMAL in our society. We have become desensitized by violence because we consume violence. We have created the conditions for violent behavior in the way that we socialize our children. Male children are taught that anger and rough housing *which essentially is violence* are acceptable outlets for their emotions, then they are set in front of video games and movies that reiterate that teaching. Death is nothing but a regular thing that happens, we are detached from it and sometimes we romantize it. How much of our media makes death seem romantic? Makes death seem noble or funny or just plain exciting? Killing is portrayed as the ultimate type of power and when someone segregates themselves from society and hides in movies then they are more likely to emulate what they see. We have created the conditions for this madness yet there has not been enough outrage to attempt some cultural change.
Lastly …I get really upset to see the novelty of our nation mourning without any real ACTION being taken. How many of these mass tragedies have to happen before we start pooling together and addressing the gun laws and our obsession with violence?! I’m tired of seeing so many “sad” people who go back to their normal lives when news like this blows over, until the next group of people are murdered by the conditions we have set up. Unfortunately we are complacent about addressing the SOURCE of these issues. This is why I do not get sad about these kinds of tragedies, on an individual humanistic level I am sad but I am MORE disgusted with the why and the how these things happen. Getting sad will not bring those people back, nor will it prevent the same type of tragedy from happening again, therefore sadness is not a PRODUCTIVE response to what happened in Colorado. What are we going to do when the sadness is gone? How are we going to protect human life if we put so many things before it? Sadness is reactionary.