(TFC) – I hate to be the one to break this to the American populace, but reports of school shootings in the news should’ve stopped shocking the nation years ago. It’s old news. It’s time to move on to the next trendy news item.
Look, gentle American, the United States is the embodiment of violence. In your mind, run through the average teenaged boy’s day. His alarm wakes him up and music blasts from the speakers. It doesn’t matter if it’s rock or country, the theme of violence is there. Whether the music places him rallying around the family with a pocket full of shells or he’s got a shotgun, rifle, and four-wheel drive, an American boy will survive. But will he?
He turns on the TV. It’s laden with violence. He hops on Instagram, older men he looks up to are posing with their weapons trying their best to look like killers. Bored with that, he switches over to Twitter where he finds people discussing whether it’s ok to run people over with their cars for blocking a road during a protest over another unarmed person getting spattered by a cop, who is deemed a hero. People bring up the fact the deceased had too many tickets and how he should’ve just done what the man with the gun said. What’s the takeaway? Everybody has it coming, killing people over minor inconveniences is ok, and a man with a gun is unquestionable.
He goes to school, and a teacher assaults a student for not standing up for the pledge (Google it.) He remembers dad saying how he’d beat someone for burning a flag. That’s right. Violence is justified for insulting an inanimate object. It’s America, violence is always justified.
In homeroom, they watch the news. A bunch of brown kids in some far away land have been ripped in half by warheads from a drone. Oops. Just collateral damage. Life is cheap. He’ll watch the live footage of the dead kids as detached as any trained killer. He knows we’re ready to go to war in Syria and knows we should kill them, but neither he nor his parents could tell you why.
The refugees from that war? Pfft. Don’t send them here, even though US foreign policy triggered the war. They should stay and kill like real men. If they don’t want to, leave them to die.
He hears about the President saying he’d kill the family members of suspected terrorists. He hears him advocate torture. He hears him say those who didn’t stand for him or applaud the way he wanted are treasonous. The young man knows the traditional penalty for treason.
He hears about racists marching through the street advocating “peaceful ethnic cleansing” and “leaderless resistance”. He Googles the last term and reads about lynchings, church bombings, and shootings.
In history, he hears all about the glory of war, written by somebody who most likely never had a bullet fired at them. His JROTC instructor walks down the hallway, and he sees the ribbons.
On the bus ride home, he looks out the window at a stoplight and sees a bumper sticker informing him the vehicle is insured by Glock.
At home, he grabs the controller and starts killing “bad guys” in the latest video game. The characters he kills don’t soil themselves or cry for their mothers as they bleed out. They just vanish.
He turns on TV and watches the good guy biker gang off a bunch of Russians in a bad arms deal. Then the good guy meth cook kills his rival. He goes to the movies and sees the nation marvel at the latest true story of a war hero that conveniently sanitizes the reality of war.
At dinner, he eats alone, face in his phone watching videos of violence. As he goes to sleep, he’s laughing at the latest challenge: pointing guns at your friends.
The next day the cycle repeats, but after homeroom, some other boy with a similar daily routine and a lack of coping skills puts two in his chest. His death is livestreamed by another terrified student. That video is added to the library of death porn on the internet and some other boy watches with morbid curiosity later that night. That same boy hears from those shocked by the tragedy. One side says to put guns in the classroom, the other side says to send armed men to take the guns from “bad guys”. Either way, violence is the answer. That line between hero and criminal blurs more every day.
This is America. Of course, our schools are war zones. What else would they be?
If you’ve made it this far, you should know I’m not a peacenik. I carried a weapon daily for years. It’s precisely because I’m familiar with violence that I oppose it except in the most dire of circumstances.
Some might say the daily routine above doesn’t create school shooters. No, it doesn’t. It simply breeds familiarity with violence. It makes one intimate with death as an abstract concept. It breaks down the revulsion to taking another life. It doesn’t create school shooters, it just conditions young men to accept the concept of killing.
I’m not against guns. I’m against a culture that believes using one is good. I’m against a culture that glorifies violence against the weak. I’m against a culture pushing the idea that insulting a politician or flag is worthy of death. I’m against a culture that is so steeped in violence, they don’t even realize the amount of it they see daily. I’m against a culture that seeks to blame and punish innocents. I’m against a society that glorifies violence and ridicules restraint.
You want to know who to blame? That’s all the media has become lately anyway, right? Blame yourself. We created this culture. We spawned a generation of young men lacking integrity, accountability, courage, self-reliance, and coping skills. We created a world that contains violence at every level.
You want to fix this? Stop trying to put a band-aid on a bullet wound. There’s no easy fix. There’s no legislation to end it. It starts with you and your boy.
If you’re not willing to do that, shut up about how much you care about the victims. You don’t. Just like the shooter, you want to blame someone else for your failings.