Thursday, February 15, 2018

Grasping At A Straw That Always Fails

Another day, another shooting.

There is nothing to be said for all of these shootings, except maybe, “oh shit, we are so fucked.”

The mall shootings; the workplace shootings; the neighborhood shootings; that recent concert shooting; and, God help us, the school shootings, especially the ones where some random adult, who has no particular association with the school, invades the campus and lets fly at kindergarteners; these are all events that are beyond redemption. Beyond redemption in themselves, and perhaps pushing our society beyond redemption as well.

The aftermaths of these shootings bring multiple reactions and responses that are in themselves evil, or at least embarrassing. Many other deranged individuals get the idea that their own egos would be flattered by an adventure of this kind. I say, “deranged,” but this type of derangement has obviously grown within the definition of “normal” in our society. We must acknowledge that a mass shooting every day and a half is the very definition of “normal.”

And then there is the sickening outpouring of totally insincere prayer by politicians. “Our thoughts and prayers,” and asking God to “grant peace to the families,” have become the defining clichés of our times. The prayers of the politicians are the worst, but let’s face it, the prayers of local community groups aren’t much better.

Assuming that there is a God is already a giant leap of faith, because there is not one shred of evidence in 10,000 years to suggest that there is such a being. Assuming that there is a God that answers prayer is a further leap into the dark void of supernaturalism. This outpouring of senseless prayer is the height of foolishness, but therein may lie a spark of positive energy at the center of the awful blackness of these mass shootings.

All prayers are "Hail Mary passes." They all grasp at straws that will not support any weight. They all fail to achieve results. 

It has been a long time now that we have been suffering these terrible shooting incidents on a regular basis, and we have all the while been listening to all of these demonstrations of prayers, and seen all of the moments of silence, all of the politicians’ heads hung in mournful contemplation of the money that they receive from the NRA. And perhaps some people will begin to notice that no one has been listening to those prayers. This massive outpouring of prayer, the volume of which must be almost record setting, has obviously fallen on deaf ears, or non-existent ears. There has only been an acceleration in the number of mass shootings. Even such a tremendous volume of prayer, rising from such multitudinous sources, in all voices, languages and accents, has done nothing. I hope, I wish, I pray! that more people, more Americans in particular, will take this wonderful opportunity to question the entire idea that there is a supernatural being who “watches over us,” who supposedly “cares for us,” or even “loves us.”

Only “we” are responsible for “us.” Only “we” can bring about the changes that are required. Society must take responsibility for its own shortcomings, and begin to take emergency measures to correct its own excesses and mistakes.

The societal “we” that is empowered to take action has been defined in America to consist of the elected officials in our representative government. It is also obvious by now that that experiment has failed. A new “we” must arise to take its place. A “we” that actively seeks the comfort and security of all of “us.” Our elected political rulers do not care for us, or our families, or our children, in the least. That much is clear; it is as plain as the nose on your face.

What form that new political entity might take is beyond my limited powers of imagination. I only hope that greater minds than mine are devoting some time to the problem even as we read, and write, here and now.

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