I remember when I learned about the news of the Virginia Tech shootings. I wrote a lengthy rant about the fear about the shooting will give raise to increased anti-Asian sentiment. Looking back on it, I can’t help but laugh at how I exaggerated the situation, but here am I now writing about the shootings in Newton, New Jersey and Clackamas, Oregon. I generally want to avoid speaking out on events like this because most of the time I find myself re-iterating the opinions of articles that I read on the internet. With such an extensive coverage on an event of such magnitude, it’s hard to write something that is fresh and doesn’t seem like simply mimicry of another political pundit. Yet this nausea that I experience from the overflow of political commentary is the primary reason that I feel compelled to write about these shootings. To me, it isn’t the actual shooting that raises alarm to me, but the reactions that follow.
Whenever any sort of mass shooting happens, the biggest elephant in the room is gun control. Every single time I read about a shooting, what follows next is the huge debate on gun control. Yet every time, it seems that nothing or little is done. What is it about gun control that is so elusive and so hard to push reforms for? I guess it is because out of all the amendments in the Bill of Rights, there is none as controversial and as elusive as the Second Amendment. Now the NRA recently released a statement in which they held strong in defense of the Second Amendment, but how long will that last? The Amendment is looking more and more outdated as more of these incidents occur. It has established a sense of gun culture in America that seems to be more detrimental than beneficial.
But the NRA and gun advocates say that it is not the guns that kill people, but the people that do. In order to combat a bad guy with a gun, we need a good guy with a gun. Here we see just how problematic this thinking is and it isn’t that it is advocating essentially an eye for an eye. It is that it is labeling and demonizing the shooter as a “bad guy”. Now, I am not to say that what the shooter does is justifiable…it is certainly an atrocious act. But to label him as a bad guy and scoff that he is also a human being will cause us as a society to continue treating those like the shooter inadequately. I see that what is more dangerous than overly relaxed society is an overly alarmed society. By entering an alarmist state, we can be easily moved by politicians to do what they want us to do. “We must ban video games! They are a danger to society! Call of Duty causes people to KILL!” Such paranoia causes us not to focus on ourselves, but instead to scapegoat it onto others. Sure, guns were used to kill, but the individual was the one to pull the trigger. I guess on that point I agree with the NRA. Yet at the same time, how they are so unwilling to place any guilt or shame upon themselves, or even to advocate a greater necessity for people to create a greater responsibility in the handling of firearms and in the treatment of the mentally ill is appalling.
We must not fall prey to the idea that we must baby those with mental illnesses and to treat them as a ticking time bomb that will go off if not pampered and confined. Every individual is different and must be treated as so. We are always trying to comfort ourselves after these shootings by trying to dig up a reason why the shooter did what he did. We try to find that bit of background about how he was abused as a child or has some sort of mental illness in order to comfort ourselves that we are not as insane and as evil as him. But in reality, we are much like him and the countless other of mass murderers. We have had instances of disgust, dismay, and depression…but perhaps not as severe as these troubled individuals. And sometimes their cold acts do not have much reasoning….and instead of fabricating reasons, we move on and accept that what was done was senseless and to continue to dwell on it will only hurt us. Now, I’m not saying gun control is not an issue….it certainly is. But it isn’t as important as a vast array of other issues plaguing America and is not the root of the problem. I definitely feel that guns are way too easily obtainable, but I also feel that prohibiting the selling of firearms will not do much in preventing future mass shootings. I feel like mass shootings will continue to go until we decide to take responsibility on ourselves instead of venting onto others.
“revolutionaries die but the revolution don’t”
Yuri Kochiyama (May 19, 1921 - )
& Malcolm X (May 19, 1925 - February 21, 1965)
LIFE Magazine, March 5, 1965
Here’s ZBo and Derek Anderson in the ol’ Jail Blazer days….
I must say, ZBo is plain balling in the playoffs right now. Who knew all he needed was a Spaniard center to get his personal shit straight? He’s quickly becoming what Rasheed was to the Detroit Pistons back in 2004, except ZBo is playing way better than Rasheed was. Don’t want to curse them now, but the Grizzlies are looking real good.