In 1939, shocked movie viewers abruptly walked out of theaters after hearing Clarke Gable’s character say “I don’t give a damn” in Gone With the Wind.
When The Exorcist was released, theater operators handed out sickness bags because a number of viewers found the green vomit scenes disturbing. That vaginal mutilation scene with the crucifix didn’t help to steady anyone’s countenance.
Fast-forward to 2015, and the reaction to the Umpqua Community College shootings that killed 10 people and injured 7 appears mechanized.
Newspapers are bound to publish a front-page editorial.
Some reporters have their mass shooting pieces pre-written. They simply wait for bullets to start flying so that the blank spaces can be filled in:
A mass shooting has been reported at TK, where TK people are believed to be dead and TK more are injured, according to TK police department. The gunman has/hasn’t been apprehended. None of those involved have been identified.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
The media campaign for gun control will be met with a counter-campaign for fewer controls.
The current President of the United States provided yet another “This gun madness must stop” speech which referenced much of what I just wrote.
But the President said something about the most recent shooting that stuck in my craw — he challenged the press to publish comparisons between the number of mass shooting deaths in America with those from terrorist attacks committed on US soil.
The facts would be on the President’s side if he directly said those terrorist attack deaths are vastly outnumbered by the killings from mass shootings.
That sort of comparison by the media has been done before. Hell, I’ve written about the topic in one form or another at least once.
But the the missing point in most arguments about gun control is the drivers of gun culture.
America’s gun culture is bigger than the emotionally unstable people who decide to grab automatic weapons and make news headlines on any given day.
And while an important enabler to gun culture, the firearms industry is only a symptom. If by some miracle, guns disappeared from the hands of all civilians today, we would likely have mass machete killings in America tomorrow.
I would argue that American-sponsored divisions between social standing, religion, political affiliation, race and nationality are the enablers to gun culture which no one talks about.
While many of its citizens may pursue constitutional ideals of equality and unity, many other Americans’ penchant for hatred — and sometimes even violence — against other groups over the centuries have been virtually encouraged by their leaders and even institutions.
But just like the way we’ve become increasingly impervious to visions of green vomit projectiles, each proxy war or direct military action sponsored by America makes us less sensitive to the idea that thousands, or perhaps hundreds of thousands of innocent overseas civilians will die.
How much respect for life can Americans learn If their government enables the death of civilians in nations like Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan or Yemen?
For the record, I support gun ownership, but I also believe we should keep these weapons from the reach of nut cases.
I also believe that love is much stronger than any gun control law.
But can you legislate love?
song currently stuck in my head: “i’ve got a feeling” – albertina walker