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Posted by on Dec 16, 2012 in Crime, Featured, Media, Politics, Society | 3 comments

What Our Kids Pay For

Arcadio Esquivel, Cagle Cartoons, La Prensa, Panama

The sacrifice we ask others to pay for our choices is laid out clearly in an op-ed this morning in the New York Times. It comes from a father whose son was murdered in another school shooting some years back. He points to the real reason we won’t and almost certainly won’t control the elements in our society that allow — even encourage — these events to continue.

I came to realize that, in essence, this is the way we in America want things to be. We want our freedom, and we want our firearms, and if we have to endure the occasional school shooting, so be it. A terrible shame, but hey — didn’t some guy in China just do the same thing with a knife?

Still, whatever your position on gun control, it is impossible not to react with horror to news of the shootings in Connecticut. Our horror is nuanced by knowledge of what those families are going through, and what they will have to endure in years to come.

More horrible still — to me at least — is the inevitable lament, “How could we have let this happen?”

It is a horrible question because the answer is so simple. Make it easy for people to get guns and things like this will happen.

Children will continue to pay for a freedom their elders enjoy. …Gregory Gibson, NYT

And it’s not just guns. We’ve allowed a corporate culture in America to dominate our entertainment, making it more and more available and more and more violent. Not just physical violence but emotional and psychological violence. Can’t live with it, one might say, and can’t live without it.

Guns are just another facet of the tools our culture puts in our hands and minds. By all means, let’s take some control over access to military ordnance and handguns. But that alone won’t stop what Gregory Gibson, who’s had plenty of reasons to think about all this long and hard, calls a public health issue. He wrote a book about it.

In it I suggested that we view gun crime as a public health issue, much the same as smoking or pesticides. I spent a number of years attending rallies, signing petitions, writing letters and making speeches, but eventually I gave up. …Gregory Gibson, NYT

Most of America has given up, too. We already know a bloody pile of little kids isn’t going to stand between us and our “freedom,” especially when what we like to think of as freedom is just another cluster of addictions.

Cross posted from Prairie Weather

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  • The_Ohioan

    This is a very thought provoking essay and I think speaks to the reason I keep saying I’m waiting. I’m waiting for those who don’t want to give up their addiction to guns (cloaked as a addiction to “freedom”) to admit we all have a problem.

    I had not thought of it as an addiction even as I couldn’t understand the irrationality of continuing to protest any change even as the carnage mounts. The ability to ignore a problem by deflection through dubious statistics, increasingly irrational objections to increasingly rational suggestions – all are the tactics addicts use to be able to continue their addiction.

    Here is an attempt to define our collctive addiction to violence. I believe the author is correct in his analysis of the problem; less sure his solutions are workable or even possible.

    The addicting power of violence — both real and in the media — increases exponentially during times of transition, those times when a familiar story has ceased to provide inspiration and a new one has yet to take its place. At these times, people are particularly vulnerable to using both violence itself and the witnessing of violent actions to inject themselves with excitement, engagement, and influence — feelings lacking in their own lives. And random violence — violence as undifferentiated stimulation — becomes particularly addictive in a new way. Its power to give voice to the feelings of fear and chaos so central to these times while hiding them from us through its empty intensity has a peculiar attraction.

    When I read that, those uncomfortable scenes of Tea Party advocates using violent speech to disrupt our democratic intercourse came to mind. Anyway, I think it’s worth a read.

  • PW

    Thanks, Ohioan. That’s a very helpful response and link. Addiction in multiple forms seems to have us in its grip. It’s particularly noticeable to those of us who have lived outside of the US for decade or two.

  • PW
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