Thursday, December 3, 2015

It is Normal Now, Though

One of the things that bothers me about running the kind of blog I do is that when certain events occur, I can't seem to blog past them. That is to say, unless they are addressed, I can't just go ahead and blog about something else, but then again, I also can't write about the big story until I know what I want to say. Yesterday, I didn't have enough information to make any kind of post about it at all, and simply dropped a poem (which is, for me, a kind of structuring of thoughts that I can do based on feelings without feeling false). I still feel like there's something absent regarding the San Bernardino massacre, but no doubt, whatever doesn't ring right at this moment will suddenly settle into history like a pair of socks in a drawer.

President Obama, after the Planned Parenthood shooting, said that we can't let this become normal. But, in a wrenching way, I think it already has. We now have had a year where in 332 days, there have been 355 mass shootings. If something is happening on a more-than-daily basis--how normal is that? Consider when we all, in shock and horror, faced the example of twenty dead mostly kindergarten and first-grade-aged babies dying one December day, probably many of them with Christmas presents already wrapped in a closet, set aside by their parents, for a happy surprise that never came.

And people bought more guns. And no significant legislation to do anything about the proliferation of arms among regular and irregular folks was done. And it keeps happening, and we have thoughts and prayers and forgetting and the next tragedy, and each time, some people shut down in more fear and silent anguish and nothing, not ever, gets changed. And some people speak out in a sense of righteousness and vocal anguish, and still, nothing, not ever, gets done.

In the face of a possible home-grown radicalized Muslim mass shooter, we still have folks in Congress who are okay with people considered too suspect to get on an airplane getting all the guns they want. God forbid they should fly--as if it's safer they should be terrestrial terrorists in their locality?  Not that we have more than speculation yet, by law enforcement, as to the exact motive of the shooters. Maybe it was workplace-related, maybe it was jihad. Maybe it was six of one, a half dozen of the other. Maybe regardless the results don't change.

Bullets can stop bodies dead. Police bullets and outlaw bullets rain on the just and unjust and the bullets of the sane are just as deadly as those of the sick, and the jihadist and the disgruntled employee are both centaurs in this dragon-world.

And like the blind men handling an elephant, everyone walks away with an opinion of the little bit they grasped, and never understood the elephant in the room at all.

Guns are a match. Too many people in this country are drunk on kerosene. I don't know how to play chicken-and-egg with this thing. Is it the riot of our many contentious thoughts? Is it the handiness of our wounding weapons? Or would killing tools just be less deadly if they found themselves only in tolerably reasonable hands? And who decides? We never tackle those questions so much as poke them, like one might poke a tiger safely in a cage.

I'd like this topic uncaged though. And set the tiger loose. Who should have weapons? Who decides? We limit speech, and voting, and condition other "Bill of Rights" freedoms. Only lobbying makes the 2nd Amendment a pearl for the purist.

But on the gut level, I wondered, at first, as these events were unfolding, who in the hell attacks a center that provides social services to the disabled? I mean, what is the point of shooting up a place with disabled people and social workers and teachers? Harmless and innocent people? And now, I wonder, what kind of self-absorbed fucking assholes leave their baby daughter in the care of her grandma to wage incredible disgusting violence, leaving her without parents and with a decidedly screwed life? What Syed Farook did to his coworkers was horrendous, but what he and Tashfeen Malik did for the life of their child is unspeakable--will that child know the infamy of her parents? How is she to live?

There is nothing to think or feel about this but all-too-human grief. And that grief is our new normal.

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