“DEADLIEST SHOOTING IN THE UNITED STATES”. I fear the more we hear these words the less they will mean to us. The more we view violence the less it seems to affect us, studies show. There is a danger in not reacting to those words. There ought to be an immediate call for action, before even the ability to react is desensitized out of us.
America’s gun laws seem to be all about what just a few want…their right to pack pistols. Gentlemen and women choose your weapons…but pistols at twenty paces, it is no longer. Why does any individual want or need semi-automatic weapons, and now attachments to make these quicker killing machines? Outside of war, does any human being need such fire power? When we bring the weapons of war into everyday society…where then is peace? Why are we so seduced by weapons of destruction? What does this say about how far we have drifted from human feeling, interaction and relationship?
What is our understanding of democracy today? Inherent in democracy is our responsibility to protect the vulnerable, so all share equal rights. Against automatic weapons we are all equally vulnerable. Part of democracy is the care of one another. Where did we forego this basic human responsibility? As far back as the beginning of time it seems, Adam and Eve’s son Cain had this ability to shirk responsibility for the other. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Was Cain’s response to God’s question, “Where is your brother?” Spoken just after he murdered his brother Abel (Genesis chapter 4).
Democracy does not abdicate us from all human responsibility to the other. Where did we pick up the idea of freedoms without responsibilities and consequences? When did freedom and sacrifice get separated? They go hand in hand as any war veteran will affirm. Freedom costs dearly. Our freedom to bear arms is costing innocents their lives. Is it worth it? Would I not feel more powerful to know that my sacrifice has bought protection for fellow citizens? But caring for the other seems to have left our consciousness. It seems the idea of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ supercedes collective responsibility. The rights of the few over the right for safety of the many…is this a democracy?
How can we be proactive to prevent future incidents versus just cleaning up afterward and making excuses? I once heard America described as a young country, going through its teenage years. Isn’t this a typically immature, teenage kind of attitude…what I want is above anyone else’s needs or desires. Self-interest, self-preoccupation is the ‘theology’ of our times, perfectly typified by the ‘selfie.’ The new narcissistic philosophy: What I want supercedes anything you might want or need. Therefore my need justifies my actions and exonerates me from any consequence or responsibility, because my only
higher power is myself. Therefore I am without blame…guiltless, innocent. You are to blame for trying to limit my right to please myself.
At which point do we step up as a society and demand that it is time to grow up. Man-up…woman-up…mature-up and be willing to sacrifice some of our rights for the greater good and safety of all.
Am I my brother’s or sister’s keeper?