Countless generations of combat veterans have warned us that if you cannot spread and maintain peace at all costs then you will soon discover your capability to become used to anything. Absolutely anything. While none of us will ever admit to getting used to the images of murdered children or adults this is not to say the murderers won’t. What we can admit is that a very clear and traceable pattern of mass murder in our society is upon us. These murderers tend to be young and come from our own ranks and not some foreign land. It hasn’t always been this way so something has changed.
Predictably, on Friday, December 14th, my Facebook feed was awash with disbelief, anger and compassion: “How could this happen?” “What kind of monster could do this?” “I’m gonna hug my kid” etc. I remained silent, taking it all in with conflicting emotions. I was horrified but not at all surprised. Despite the comments of shock, I suspected most others were not as surprised as they were leading on given I read their similar comments the last time this happened and the time before that. Yes, this was horrific. Yes, this was tragic. Yes, you should count your blessings but what are we really expecting from this society? To quote George Carlin: “Garbage in. Garbage out.”
There’s no shortage of garbage. Let’s not pretend that violence and the glorification of criminality are not increasingly pushed on us in most public and many private forums. You can make this about guns, God, bible and rights all you wish but this is about culture. Despite our chest puffing and flag waving, we are a violent culture dating back to our annihilation of the native population during the madness of Manifest Destiny. They were here first-we want what they’ve got-so we’ve got a problem-mentality. The reality of that slaughter was creatively replaced with peaceful visions of Thanksgiving but that’s for another day. We are bombarded with violence and criminality everywhere we look: TV, movies, video games, billboards and even our domestic and foreign policies. It’s inescapable and has become who we are but we rarely admit it despite the evidence.
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We entertain ourselves and our children with mindless televisions shows depicting one cat fight after another, one bar brawl after another, on junkie after another, one vampire or zombie sucking the blood or eating the guts of another. We even have a show on the Amish mafia. Who knew? Science is important to us so when we want our dead body fix we’ve got Dr. G, the medical examiner lady and that crime-scene cleanup show. If we want to see fresh dead bodies we have that show about the first 48 hours. If that gets boring, we can tune into some hot-head abusing a meter maid or assaulting the repo man. No one can say we don’t have variety in the USA baby! We’ve got every flavor.
When our kids get a little older, after years of overstimulation, poor diet and increasingly a complete lack of exercise, they’re probably going to need some meds for that. No problem there. They’re going to need them for when they learn how compassionate we are to non-violent drug offenders; how our idea of sending peaceful but troubled folks into violent prisons is the best idea we can come up with. So they better not mix those meds and get caught. Meds are also a good way to keep them calm when they learn the double standard their society has on violence too. We’ll need them half-way delusional if we’re to convince them the secret to our own security back home can only come fighting one war after the next in foreign lands but if that veteran loses his temper in a bar back home because some drunk grabbed his girlfriend’s ass, it’s jail time folks. Killing children collaterally from a drone strike is actually just peace from above. Assaulting a drunk over an ass slap is a serious offense. Best we move on kid.
You better stay on those meds and engrossed in your gaming too because you’re not gonna like what we did to the economy and what we didn’t do to the bankers that caused it. Forget your future and the environment too- they’re just distractions. Forget wondering about the rate of unemployment for the shooter’s age group either. We’re sure this is just a phase and there shouldn’t be any emotional ramifications for folks out of a job long-term. If you don’t like it, just pitch a tent in Zuccotti Park until such time as we determine you’re done griping. Then you’re gone. That’s what we call democracy. Show your respect for the many who died for it. It’s that double standard thing again. We’ll know you’ve come to accept it when you selectively show your compassion for dead Americans on Facebook yet hold your tongue for the one million killed in Iraq. One is mass murder and the other was an honest mistake regarding weapons of mass destruction. Let’s not pretend there isn’t a difference son.
So guess what folks? From time to time our kids are going to wake up-snap out- snap in- whatever you call it, from our self-made nightmares and they’re not going be very pleasant to be around when they do. A lifetime of violent images, overstimulation, lack of exercise, double standards, hypocrisies, over-medications and the glorifications of violence in all its forms is bound to manifest itself in some pretty nasty acts. These acts are destined to worsen and we can all see they have. So why don’t we just stop the finger pointing and start national, public debates on how we can stop them? Let’s not rely on government or the police to find solutions we know they can’t. Let’s start listening to those veterans who’ve been warning for ages what will come if we don’t pursue a policy of peace in all aspects of our lives. Well, it’s here. The hens of violence we released upon the globe and into our homes in the false name of freedom and entertainment have come home to roost. Will you get used to it?