First of all, this:
When this happened in Dunblane I was newly-married but childless. I couldn’t bear to watch the news. Now? I’m retreating inside my shell and keeping the electronics tightly locked down. I can’t even bring myself to think about the human aspect of this. 1
As if it wasn’t bad enough, we are immediately seeing social media flooded with a debate about gun control in the US. Now, Lord knows I’m no fan of the 2nd Amendment the way it is interpreted today 2, but you don’t stop gun crime by banning guns alone.
Can we maybe talk about the fact that, as stated in that video up there, when we ‘glorify’ (or ‘notorify, if you’ll allow me to invent a word) these people, we create copycats?
Can we talk about our culture and the fact that we glorify conflict and being-an-asshole on TV, with wall-to-wall reality shows and shout-fests?
Can we talk about access to mental health services and how they really should be a priority?
Can we talk about the fact that the voracious news media lives on a moveable feast of garbage, wringing every desperate detail out of every ‘conflict’ it can find purely for its own aggrandizement (“you heard it here first!” “Stay tuned for more!”) and monetary gain? 3
Can we talk about the fact that ordinary people, all around us (you or me, perhaps?) suck from the diseased teat of the 24 hour news cycle in part for the sick, momentary thrill of being the first among their friends to “know” all about the latest cultural ‘event’, good or bad, or to be the one who has all the details at their fingertips so they can hold forth at the next gathering of friends (“Oo, look at me. Listen to me. Hear me. I have woe to spread. I am soooo empathetic. I am so sensitive. Look at me. Here! Over here!”)? I’ve been guilty of it. And I bet you have too.
It’s melodrama at its most voyeuristic. It’s Victorian freakshow, the elephant man, the Roman circus with people killing themselves for glory and my entertainment and I refuse to feed the beast.
No More Melodrama
I am not going to watch coverage of this tragedy. I am going to turn off the radio if I hear it mentioned. I am going to lock down Twitter and Facebook and my blogs feed, so I’m only seeing info from my closest friends and family if and when I go on.
I am going to pray for those families affected. I am going to sit down and think about how I can make my community a better place for people who are suffering. I am going to love my neighbor and try to love my enemy, and more than that: act upon it. 4
- No! See? my brain tried to go there and I had to stop it. ↩
- By the way, “Amendment”? That means we’re happy to admit that the Constitution is wrong or incomplete at times. But if you happen to suggest that we’re interpreting something about the 2nd Amendment differently from the way you do, all of a sudden we’re violating some kind of sacred document? We can’t have a conversation about how life is a bit different and might have different needs now that we’re not long an insecure new country beseiged on all sides by monarchies who would love to overrun us and claim our abundant resources? Or now that population density was, like one guy and his cow per square mile when the 2nd Amendment was written and is now 33.4 people per square mile as a national average (including all those bits that nobody at all lives in) and 394 per square mile in Newtown, CT where this thing happened. Population density is 8000+ people in the most populous city in that state. Life is a bit different from 1791. Can we at least talk about that? ↩
- What good does it do anyone to know the name of the mass-murderers in these cases? What good does it do me to watch cell-phone footage of the crime? What good does it do my children to hear about this over and over and over again until they think this is how the world is? ↩
- It’s almost Christmas. This morning I was stressing out about gifts. This afternoon I’m remembering about the real gift. ↩