Perhaps it has all been said before
Perhaps it has all been said before, many times
by Michael Rissler
The continuing tragic story of violence in the United States leaves us on edge. Rightfully so. We also know that however this kind of tragedy takes place, whether it is a sniper shooting innocent victims, adolescents firing on class mates, or, as in this case, a 22-year-old who apparently went to a very public shopping center and let loose a fuselage of semi-automatic fire, the main storyline will be that of a single, lone gunman, mentally disturbed, going over the precipice and wreaking havoc.
The horror of such an event is very personal. We see the victim’s faces on the news, we follow the reports of a Congresswoman condition, and we are barraged by presidential and congressional declarations of how these things should not happen in our land, the home of democracy, the land of the free, the brave, and the noble.
But I cannot help but wonder what we think when massive similar events happen in countless other lands, often as the result of United States foreign policy and military intervention? How many women, children, and men who are also innocent die daily with bullet shots to the head and other parts of their bodies, justified in the name of our “defense” of our country and “democracy” and funded with billions of dollars of armaments. At the same time the political rhetoric in the United States increasingly mimics in-country our nation’s violent actions in other lands, generally out of our sight and seemingly far away. In addition to the horror of bunker buster bombs, cluster bombs, random ransacking of people’s homes, which are part and parcel of our military action, I cannot get out of my mind the horrible weapon of drones, pilotless planes that can be controlled thousands of miles away in air-conditioned rooms by technically savvy operators who can fire and bomb with, for us stateside observers, unimaginable brutality.
I suppose one of the lessons, or observations, we can make is that if 20 people are gunned down in a shopping center parking lot by a single gunman we can still be struck by horror, but when it comes to killing large numbers of people in other countries with far more diabolical actions and weapons, we can go about our daily lives, largely undisturbed. Now, when we take time to think about it, who is it that has the unhealthy mentality, a single, lone gunman, or we as a people who together can get on with our lives while vast multitudes suffer and die as the result of our nation’s decisions and actions?