American Culture

Colorado Springs, Planned Parenthood, and our cultural insanity over guns

Read this excerpt from an article in the New York Times about the people around the Planned Parenthood clinic that was attacked yesterday:

Her boyfriend, Jackson Ricker, 18, placed his arms around [Miranda Shilter’s] waist and his chin on her shoulder and noted that Ms. Schilter had witnessed a different shooting a few weeks earlier when a heavily armed man shot and killed a bicyclist and two women in the downtown. “The first time she cried,” said Mr. Ricker, looking at his dry-eyed girlfriend. “She’s a veteran now.” (link original)

Let that process for a minute.

Over the course of the last three weeks, Miranda Shilter was a bystander to two different shootings, and “she’s a veteran now.” Maybe her boyfriend said so with a sad tone in his voice, maybe he’s proud of her – the reporter doesn’t include that detail. But to me, using the word “veteran” in this context implies the latter.

How fucked up is that? How fucked up do we have to be as a people that we’re proud that our neighbors, friends, and family can handle two episodes of unspeakable violence and not shed a tear? What does that say about our culture’s misplaced values and morality?

Shouldn’t we be angry that we’ve allowed yet another act of domestic terrorism to take place?

Shouldn’t we be ashamed that we let Richard Lewis Dear acquire the guns he used to kill three people?

Shouldn’t we be disgusted that this is something like the 340th mass shooting so far in 2015?

Shouldn’t we be feel contempt for the people who will use this terrorist act to push for fewer gun controls?

Shouldn’t we be outraged at the people who have spent decades making Planned Parenthood the target-du-jour for domestic terrorists, religious or otherwise?

Shouldn’t we feel regret for the all the lives that we could have saved if we only had the courage to stand up to the 2nd Amendment fundamentalists after Newtown, or after the Aurora theater shooting, or after any of the major mass shootings that have happened in the last 10, or 15, or 20 years?

Shouldn’t we be shocked… no, we shouldn’t be shocked. Because we have done nothing to stop the zealots and embryonic domestic terrorists in our midst from acquiring the guns they’ll kill us with. And it’s very definition of insanity to keep doing the same thing but expecting different results.

Shouldn’t we be afraid… no, we shouldn’t be afraid either. Because people make bad choices when they’re afraid, because people can be easily manipulated when they’re afraid. We must let the fear pass through us and over us, and when the fear is gone and turned to nothing, only we shall remain. Turning away from fear is how we will make the changes our country so desperately needs.

I’ve got some ideas about that, but this post isn’t the right place to start that discussion. Instead, we should feel a deep and abiding sadness for the people who died, for their families, and for everyone affected by gun violence in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the United States. And when that sadness has faded some, then it’s time to turn all that shame, anger, disgust, contempt, and outrage into resolve.

Resolve to stand up to the 2nd Amendment fundamentalists and bullies. Resolve to defeat the domestic terrorists who have killed more Americans than any muslim ever has. Resolve to stop the insanity.

5 replies »

  1. You’ve become, over the years, a superb analyst of public policy. And it’s wonderful to see the emotion that drives you. Well said, sir.

  2. Its unbelievable how Americans in positions of power are unable to do the one thing that must be done to save American Lives within the US. Ironically, even outside the US they are fond of doing everything else that they shouldn’t do (drones that kill yet innocent people from Yemen-Pakistan, stupid wars…) with the consequence that such puts American lives in danger… ??? I’ve tried to, but I realise its senseless. I will never be able to understand it in this life.