I had good intentions. Really, I did. My last couple of posts were calm rational opinion pieces almost completely devoid of the hyperbole and profane ranting that one usually expects in this space. I fully intended to return from my Retreat to the Holy Land and continue in that vein. I had another semi-rational, thoughtful post outlined and ready to write. But no, that will have to wait. Some crazy fuck decided to shoot up a theater and the pundits circled the bodies like vultures before the last shell casing tinkled down the aisle. Oh well, fuck good intentions. Here comes the profane ranting…
Of course what happened in Colorado was a tragedy. Of course it sucks on just about every level. Of course I wish it hadn’t happened. Duh. So having stated the obvious, I have three main points to make: 1- Why do we tolerate politicians/pundits who morbidly try to advance their agendas on the backs of dead victims? 2- Why does this shit keep happening? 3- Why don’t I give a damn?
I think I’ll start with the leeches that immediately start sucking up camera time every time something hideous happens. The pools of blood were still congealing around dropped popcorn and they were already at it. There are two flavors of these ghouls; blame some freedom we have or blame society in general. They’re both far more evil than the poor sick fuck with the batman fetish. (He’s probably batshit crazy and they have no excuse for their malevolence.) This next paragraph is for them…
Fuck you. Fuck every last one of you. Gun rights were not responsible. 87 million gun owners didn’t kill anyone last week. We don’t need to censor our speech or our movies. We absolutely don’t need the TSA violating us at every screening. Abortions and gay people had literally nothing to do with it either. God has not forsaken anyone. Obama and Romney were irrelevant. One fucking isolated incident, no matter how horrific, should never be the basis for broad constitutional changes or sweeping assessments of the world. Shut up and climb back into whatever crypt you inhabit between sad occurrences.
How about we all agree to put politics aside and chase anyone who tries to advance a cause during a tragic event out of the public square? Every punk-ass politician, pundit, or journalist that violates our mourning with bullshit is publicly shamed until they slink off the TV, never to be seen by decent folk again. That would be a fitting legacy to all those who died.
Having dispensed with the blood sucking ghouls climbing over corpses to score a political point, let’s look at why these things keep happening. I don’t know. Neither do you. It’s too complicated. Hell, there might not even be a clear reason. Some people are just crazy or evil. You might as well as try to wonder why a tornado hit one house and left it’s neighbor untouched. We live in a random universe and sometimes shit just happens. But there are a few things that are worth discussing if we can manage to do it without over-reacting or blaming each other.
We are a violent society. I think part of the reason for this is that we’ve gotten really lazy. We look for and expect quick and simple answers to profoundly difficult questions and all too often those easy answers involve violence. Radical Islamists? Send a drone. Too much crime? Lock up and execute more people. Addicts and crime killing the inner city? Try more Draconian laws and maybe shoot a few people. Our politicians love easy violent solutions. It keeps them from having to make actual decisions and we let them get away with it. Hell, we declare ‘war’ on everything. And maybe, just maybe, it’s a bad idea to let small children be exposed to that kind of thinking in video games and movies. A constant societal message stressing violence as a solution must have some effect on the weak minded among us.
Speaking of the weak minded, we don’t take very good care of our crazy people. Schools and other social institutions lack the funding and training to help those people who lack coping skills or have been traumatized by life. We can’t even provide enough resources to treat our homebound mentally scarred soldiers. Look outside in any major city and you’ll find a crazy person sleeping on the street or ranting on a bus. Surely if we cared for our damaged people better it would lead to fewer violent outbursts, wouldn’t it?
Look, I know these observations aren’t exactly rocket science but they are realistic. And I have one more. How about we stop marginalizing entire populations? We’ve gotten really bad about that in the last 30 years. Poor people don’t matter. Black and brown people don’t matter. Atheists, bikers, gays who want to get married, liberals, tea party members, the list goes on and on. Get one small step out of the mainstream and some other group will decide you aren’t a ‘real’ American or God doesn’t bless you with the same vigor. Any message signaling that some people are lesser is bound to make that group a target.
Want to see how damaging marginalization is? Go spend time in a junior high school. Watch how those designated as ‘different’ or ‘outcast’ are treated. Now remember that every one of those kids will be adults in a couple of years, and some of them are pretty pissed off. I know it sounds a little hippy-dippy but if we were all a little more tolerant and inclusive there might be a lot fewer angry loners.
And that brings me to my last point. I DON’T REALLY FUCKING CARE ABOUT THE VICTIMS IN THIS LATEST SHOOTING. Yep, that sounds harsh. And I mean it. Allow me to explain…
A couple weeks ago a wonderful 15 year old boy that I had worked with was killed in his driveway. He dreamed of being a fireman and had just started a program that would allow him to pursue that dream. But now he’s dead. When I related this loss to people they were justifiably saddened and horrified. At least they were until I mentioned that he lived in Oakland. When that piece of information was provided they stopped caring as much. Cause, you know, it’s Oakland. And he was black. In fact he was the 46th young black person killed in Oakland this year and no one really gives a damn. A marginalized population.
I’m a biker. I belong to some biker websites. Every single fucking weekend there are requests for prayers because some rider was run down by a distracted driver who just couldn’t wait to call or text someone. There have been about 50 so far this year on this one sight alone. And nobody fucking cares. Because, you know, they’re bikers. Thugs and criminals. And they decided to ride. Another marginalized population.
12 people died in Aurora Colorado. And that’s sad. But four times that many have died in Oakland this year and one of them was a beautiful young man. Four times as many bikers have been killed on that single website. How many gay kids have killed themselves this year? How many American soldiers have died? How many innocent kids who just happened to be under a drone strike? And guess what? EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE DEATH WAS PREVENTABLE. A little understanding, some resources, ending a stupid war, or putting down the fucking phone would save them all. AND NOBODY REALLY FUCKING CARES.
If, as a society, we’ve decided that black kids, gay kids, foreign kids, soldiers and motorcyclists don’t count then I’ll be damned of I’m going to sweat a couple of moviegoers. Get back to me when we bother to end the preventable deaths of marginalized people and I’ll start giving shit about suburban white people. And the same goes for victims of 9/11. Don’t care. ALL LIVES ARE EQUAL. Until you value every single one of them, you value none of them. And if this pisses you off you need to spend some time talking to your God because I’m pretty fucking sure that He doesn’t marginalize humans. Saor Alba, Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.