NEWS IN BRIEF December 3, 2015
VOL 51 ISSUE 48 News · Guns · Violence
SAN BERNARDINO, CA—In the hours following a violent rampage in southern California in which two attackers killed 14 individuals and seriously injured 17 others, citizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs reportedly concluded Wednesday that there was no way to prevent the massacre from taking place. “This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” said Michigan resident Emily Harrington, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations. “It’s a shame, but what can we do? There really wasn’t anything that was going to keep these individuals from snapping and killing a lot of people if that’s what they really wanted.” At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past six and a half years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”
BLOGGER's LAMENT. I haven't said a lot about the almost-daily bloodbaths in the United States of late. Nor can I comment about the frantic spewing-out of statistics insisting that gun violence is now at an all-time low. The message seems to be that we're just overreacting and should settle down and feel grateful that we're so much safer than we used to be.
I have no idea what to say. When this horror happens AGAIN, I do the same weeping and fuming and turning away that a lot of people do (I won't say "most" or "everyone", because those are idiotic assumptions).
Nearly every time this happens, the blame goes to "the Muslims", which makes me quake with terror (not to mention outrage). Soon it will be open season on people who are as anguished as everyone else about the situation.
I get flipped into a mix of powerless anxiety/rage by the strangest things. There was an item on the news yesterday about poisonous rat traps set around city parks in Vancouver, and about how people were finding dead rats lying around who had eaten the poison. Someone actually had the idea their dog might get sick from eating one of these, and that it wasn't a good idea to leave poisoned rats out where small children might find them and pick them up.
The inevitable authority figure/parks board guy came on and blandly said, "We have never had a complaint about these traps hurting pets or children." And that was the end of the story.
What does this have to do with bloodbaths in schools and at Christmas parties, and with people saying, don't worry about it because gun violence is actually down?
It's that idiotic "we haven't had any complaints," a statement which makes people say, "Oh," and walk away, because this is an Authority Figure and they've just had the last word.
Because we've swallowed the bait.
"We haven't had any complaints" means "you shouldn't be complaining now because nobody else has. What's wrong with you?"
"We haven't had any complaints" means "it's OK, folks, there's no danger. And if you think there is, you're a screwball."
And of course, it means there can never BE a complaint in the future. It's against the laws of physics.
It's the same kind of reassurance which is meant to make you shut up, walk away, and not do anything more to try to change the situation.
Nobody complains. There's not much point, because we don't really have a problem here. Do we?
(I confess the article appeared in The Onion. But these days, it's hard to tell the difference.)