Archive for July, 2015

We Let This Happen

July 24, 2015

Don’t tell me you’re shocked. Don’t tell me you’re surprised that this has happened again. Really. Because I won’t believe you.

Last night a middle-aged white man, same age as my husband, walked into a crowded movie theater and started shooting. Today, two people are dead, including the shooter, and more injured. The “silver lining” to this episode, I suppose, is that he didn’t have a large automatic weapon– reports say he had a handgun– or the death toll and injury list would be much higher.

But, really, are we surprised that this has happened again? How can we be, after Chattanooga, after Charleston, after Newtown, after Aurora. After all of the mass shootings that have happened over the last 20 years or so. After so many seemingly random acts of violence we as a nation have endured.

We lament over these events: why has this happened again?

We ignore the fact that it happens because we let it happen.

We let it happen any time a weapon gets into the hands of someone who has bad intent and/ or poor mental health and/ or an axe to grind. We let it happen any time we say “guns don’t kill people” or “the way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” and that becomes the end of the argument. We let it happen whenever we fan the flames of dissatisfaction in people who feel disenfranchised yet retain the actual power to make something like this happen. We let it happen when laws that are supposed to empower are used against us to instill fear and distrust.

We allow this to happen when we are fed by fear and distrust of our fellow human beings and we lap it up like mother’s milk.

We allow it to happen when we forget that the golden rule is neither “him who has the gold makes the rules” nor “do unto others– then split!” but is “do to others as you would have others do to you.”

We make it happen when we don’t educate our children, when we fill their minds with our own fears and our own skewed version of what is. When we allow our children to become steeped in the violent culture that surrounds us, a culture that devalues human life and dehumanizes the “other.” When we become so involved with our own lives that we forget to pay attention to the least of these.

So no, don’t tell me you’re surprised, or shocked that this has happened again. Angry, I’ll take, because maybe if we become truly angry we will take some action, we will take to the streets, we will raise our voices to the rooftops, not in lament but with a righteous fury crying out “No more!”