Photo by Dave Toussaint, via Flickr

October 3, 2017 Brad Johnson 1Comment

Let’s restore our humanity.

Just as most Americans did, I woke up Monday morning to texts and alerts about the mass shooting in Las Vegas. What occurred late Sunday night, and early Monday morning has become the worst mass-shooting in American history. Immediately, anguish washed over me and while watching videos from the concert, rage pulsed through me. A million questions rushed through my mind, and they are likely the same questions running through most American’s minds — “Why?” being chief among them. Pure, unadulterated evil reared its ugly head within the walls of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. But what is particularly concerning is that there seems to be no apparent reason this was committed. That being said, I have every confidence in the world that the authorities will eventually uncover motivation. But what if they don’t?

It is early and what we don’t know far outnumbers what we do. Evil surfaces almost daily in this world, and with our technological abilities, we are able to see more of it. But as with most tragedies, we can take ever-so-slight solace in knowing there was at least a reason behind the atrocity. In Dylann Roof’s case, it was racism — and with Emanuel Samson, revenge for Roof’s barbarism. With the 9/11 hijackers, it was a mix of religious creed and disdain for America. And in what was the largest mass-shooting in American history until last night, Omar Mateen’s religiously-motivated bigotry drove him to murder 49 people, and wound dozens more. But in this case, there seems to be no motive, as of yet. It is terrifying that such violence can be committed with seemingly no motive driving it. 

“Man is a political animal, but that does not encompass the entirety of our character.”

Social media is already ripe with those attempting to score political points, and conclusions are continuously being jumped to by those on all “sides” of the aisle. The fact that political squabbling is hijacking the airwaves that should be dedicated to empathy and mourning speaks to how divided we have become. A major catalyst of this phenomenon is the politicization of every aspect of our lives. Due to the rise in size and scope of government, politics has increasingly affected more and more of our daily life. Man is a political animal, but that does not encompass the entirety of our character. There are things that transcend politics, and mass-murder is one of those things. The debate over gun control, or lack thereof, will rage on in the coming days, weeks, and years — just as it has for as long as I have been on this Earth. But the time for mourning must come first. Without it, we cannot stay sane.

Every 50-70 years, our country is faced with a cultural crisis. And to date, each has bettered our country in some way. Right now, it is unclear the manifestation from which it will surface. But it certainly appears inevitable. With tribalism running rampant through our politics, a step back is necessary. We are all Americans aiming to make our country the best it can be. As we await more details, this must not be forgotten. In light of this calamity, we are not Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives, pro-gun or anti-gun, we are all Americans. Let us save the blame-game for another day, and help those affected in any way we can. 

Follow this author on Twitter: @bradjCincy

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  • TZ


    Your sentiments are appreciated but you are misunderstanding the reality. It is not every 50 to 70 years we are faced with a cultural crisis. We are continuously facing cultural crisis and tribalism. That is the human condition (apparently). Nothing transcends politics. That is nonsense. Politics is the method we use to resolve differences. It is the failure of politics to solve these issues that leads to our division. Why this happens is in a large part the result of those who say “we are not Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives, pro-gun or anti-gun, we are all Americans” whenever tough events happen. This is what the corporate elite wishes us to think but it is not reality. I am an American for one reason, my mother birthed me here. Are the circumstances of my birth a reason to be proud? After all, I had nothing to do with it, and neither did my American born parents. (Ironically, immigrants do make that choice) The other categories are choices that we all make or unmake.
    You are too young to remember, but during the late 60’s and early 70’s there was far, far worse division than now. Although sadly we are working towards that level much thanks to President Bonespur. The main difference being the draft and Vietnam. Young men (mostly the poor) were being plucked out of their lives against their will and shipped to a foreign land to kill people who had done us no harm for reasons no one could make sense of. Think about that; today we are arguing about whether it is disrespectful to the flag and soldiers to protest during the anthem. Back then we were arguing about whether it was unpatriotic to not want to be sent, against our wishes, to kill and be killed in an undeclared and unjust war. What does that say about freedom?
    As one of those who was nearing the age of the draft as the war was being ended, I was scared to shit and angry that this was being forced on me, especially when everyone knew that Vietnam was hopeless and the only reason to continue was to save face and not have to admit America was wrong. I did not want to kill nor be killed for such a frivolous reason.
    I had grown up during the years in which MLK and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated, Kent State, riots in many cities, Daley’s beat down of hippies in the 1968 Democratic Convention, Nixon’s treason in Vietnam. So, in my view, today’s problems are not quite as bad.
    Although the violence subsided some in the 80’s and on, conservative economics and corporate America continued to divide the country. The treason of Reagan and Bush 1, exchanging weapons for hostages and using the proceeds to illegal fund a revolution in a country where they elected a socialist. Is that best use of freedom? Overthrowing the democratically elected socialist Allende and installing the vicious dictator Pinochet in Chile. The greed of the 90’s, impeaching a President for personal sins and political gain. Invading Iraq for made up reasons in response to 9/11. Tanking the economy to give tax breaks to the ultra-wealthy.
    The point is that since the founding we have always been divided between conservatives and liberals. However, one side always breaks the rules whenever a threat of socialism creeps up. Vietnam was a war crime to stop democratically elected socialism. Same with Chile, Nicaragua, and Iran in the 50’s. All of these conflicts are initiated by the top 1% to stop spreading a portion of the wealth to the poor. Like Healthcare today. Like college tuition. Like shipping jobs overseas because those people will accept pay way less than Americans. And like reasonable gun registration and laws. Freedom to profit seems to be without limit.
    So, when you say that” Due to the rise in size and scope of government, politics has increasingly affected more and more of our daily life” you are wrong. The scope and size of government has not increasingly affected my life. We no longer have the draft, the ultimate reduction of freedom.
    What we have seen is the increase of regulation intended to reduce the harm capitalism causes through pollution, scams, lack of safety, etc. This doesn’t affect my freedoms in a significant way, but it does affect the freedom of our uber-overlords to make obscene profits off the masses. And that they cannot abide.
    So, is it more important to have the freedom to sell massive amounts of firearms, than it is to have the freedom to attend a concert or ballgame without the fear of a mass-murder? Is it more important to have the freedom to be able to target shoot with one squeeze of the trigger or limit the number bullets these weapons can fire in a short time to protect the freedom to attend crowded events? Think about the firepower this one guy had, close to 600 people were killed or injured in Vegas. How many bullets missed? How many rounds did he squeeze off? A couple of thousand?What if next time a drone is used to drop a bomb? Now think how worse things would have been if the hippies in Chicago in 1968 had AK-47’s to fight back?
    So, let’s not save the blame game for another day. Let’s have a discussion right now. Does the 2nd amendment have any limit? If not, why are we trying to prevent North Korea and Iran from getting Nukes on missiles? It is for their self-defense, isn’t it? What about private citizens? Can I own a nuke to protect my home? If not, where do we draw the line?
    While I agree we should help those in need in any way we can, in reality there is nothing we can really do to replace a lost loved one. We can however, try to find a way to make it harder to kill people the next time. This is a conversation that we avoid every time. Why?