Monday, November 30, 2015

In the Face of More Violence

No, I don't expect ever to have it stop. Violence is endemic in human nature. It probably goes back to some of those primitive parts of the brain that protected us when we were, well, primitive and constantly in danger in the pre-civilized world. Self-protection can often include having to fight back in some form or another.

But violence as we see it happening way too often is not a form of self-protection. It is anger and fear, hatred and judgment and often just plain uncaring reaction and deep mental illness. Two stories in the recent week exposed this.

The first was the latest mass shooting in Colorado Springs. Some "Una-bomber"-type loner decided to take issues into his own hands. The guy was crazy. Period. He was enticed by whatever demons were in and around him to want to kill people. Perhaps he was fed by the anger and hatred currently swirling in our political system. It was an act of domestic terrorism.

Most acts of terrorism are the acts of crazy people enticed and spurred on by leaders who are also crazed by their ideologies and angers. Leaders like Osama Bin Laden gathered followers to do his crazed work for him. The Taliban does it. The KKK does it. They increase fear and anger with half-truths and no-truths. They spread lies based on their own blindness to other people's beliefs.

Yes, we also have religious leaders and politicians who do that. They would deny that they want the kind of violence enacted in their name that sometimes happens. Yet, Trump encouraged and supported in his own sideways way violence against a Black Lives Matter protester and enacted his own mocking personal violence against a reporter. They will all deny to their dying days that they support this kind of behavior. I believe that they believe that. I also believe they do not understand the results of their actions and words.

The other event took place in Biloxi, MS, at a Waffle House restaurant. From the Sun Herald:

About 1 a.m. Friday, [a man] lit a cigarette in the restaurant in the 2400 block of Beach Boulevard. Police said she [the waitress] was enforcing store policy when she asked [him] to put out the cigarette.

Police believe [he] pulled a 9mm handgun and shot [the waitress] once in the head. She died a short time later at Merit Health Biloxi.

Read more here
Not an act of terrorism. A senseless act of violence.Maybe drugs and/or alcohol were involved. (I would bet money on that!) He reportedly suffered from a Traumatic Brain Injury a number of years ago.

But this is the kind of incident that raises the gun issues more than the guy in Colorado. I am not in favor of getting rid of guns. That would be a waste of time and energy. But I am in favor of finding ways of reducing the senseless violence wrought by guns.

A "good-guy with a gun" could not have stopped this. The waitress carrying a gun herself would not have stopped this. These are the senseless acts; the great loss of innocent lives as these happen over and over.

Again and again and again I ask the same question- why can't we sit down and discuss these issues instead of standing on ideology that in the end spurs crazy or sick or troubled individuals to commit crimes of violence and death. These incidents are far more likely to happen than some Syrian refugee doing an unspeakable act.  These scare me far more.

I eat in restaurants, shop in malls, sit in coffee shops, walk in office buildings. Those are the places where things like these happen. That is the fear engendered by the news that is based on a greater reality than the refugees. Yes, we need to have proper controls and immigration guidelines, but we also need more sanity in the "gun debate."

That is always part of my prayer for the safety of our country!

No comments: