Friday, November 6, 2009

Violent Eruptions

Guns aren’t to blame for America’s violence. The kinds of guns we have often make the numbers go up, but no one [in their right mind] blames guns for violence. Most people should be able to acquire a gun of some kind if they choose to, but I urge casual gun purchasers to really think about why they want a gun.

Don’t buy a gun because you think it will make you safe or because it’s patriotic. Buy a gun because you like guns and plan to use it, perhaps hunting or target shooting. And please, if you’re going to kill yourself, just do it and don’t take other people with you – even if you have a list of reasons as thick as a phone book to blame everything on others.

That being said, it has become routine in America for “tragic” shootings to grip media attention for a day, then be forgotten. I emphasize “tragic,” because these are always shootings where white people die. If you care about anyone who would get asked for proof of membership at a country club, you have to watch local news.

Apparently violence occurs in minority communities so often that it’s hardly worth mentioning. Violent crime often occurs due to external pressures. Rarely does someone kill because a wire got crossed and they just go nuts. People don’t do drugs and suddenly have the urge to kill. Even a verbal altercation leading up to a murder is rarely the root cause of the murderer’s actions.

Stress builds in each of us every day, and for some people it’s too much. When a society is stressed, more crime occurs. Worse, when our myths become exposed and we are left desperate, all kinds of horrible things become commonplace.

Americans are presented with many appealing fallacies, which we often cling to for comfort. Every time you hear about someone shooting up his former workplace, killing his family, or going to a public place to take pot shots… know that they are someone who had their comfort taken from them. Exposure to a harsh existence does strange things to even the best of us.

I believe we’re all like popcorn. Those at the bottom get exposed to more heat initially, so they pop first. The rest of us follow suit. It is a lonely few kernels at the end who keep their integrity under pressure.

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