Fear, Hatred and Delusion

We heard, yesterday, about one horrific act of violence. And we all weep with the families of those who have lost their little ones (and older ones, too.) It is something that is hard to understand, hard to even fathom. Yet... yet... it's not, really. It is simply an inevitable result of our culture.

Nerf Machine gunChildred grow up in a culture of violence. Letting kids play video games where they can kill whatever they come across, or watch an action movie is considered much, much better than letting them watch people making love on the screen. Nerf guns and super-soaker guns look more like assault weapons than anything else.

We live in a culture that is dripping in real guns, too. There are almost 90 guns for every 100 people in the US. Far higher than any other country in the world. Most people who own guns own more than one.

So this is what happens: There is a mass shooting. The press reports it nonstop. There are vigils, memorial services, stories of the heroes and heroines who saved lives. There are the inevitable questions about the motivation of the killer, and hand-wringing about security. There are calls for tougher gun control laws. The NRA and others spend a lot of money fighting everything, so nothing happens. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Earlier this year, after another tragedy, I blogged about following the money. But it isn't just the greed of the gun manufacturers, or those who are so afraid of their fellow human beings that they fall for the delusion that a gun will keep them safer, or the militia who stock up on weapons because of the hatred of the emerging diversity of this country. It's all of our delusion that living in a violent society doesn't have inevitable, tragic results.

The way out of this isn't more gun control (or bullet control, even.) Really, we need a cultural change - a big one.