The gun violence pandemic returns in America.
In one month, we have seen multiple incidents of mass shootings and police murders against unarmed black men. It seems like every day, lives are taken in such a graphic and violent way. Every time these incidents happen, protestors demand gun control and defund the police. Media outlets will report the stories about the shootings (in the case of police murders, some focus on the riots) as a novel event. The words “thoughts and prayers” are recycled by politicians in D.C., yet nothing is done to strengthen gun control, background checks and end qualified immunity. It’s a cycle of death, protests, words, and indifference.
When I see incidents like this, two things come to mind: 1. How can anyone not want to prevent tragedies like this from happening? 2. This is embarrassing. Even President Biden said in his press briefings that these incidents are a “national embarrassment.”
My tweets often say that these incidents DO NOT reflect the behavior of an exceptional country. But after some thought…they do! These incidents are uniquely American. The obsession with gun rights, institutional racism, and nationalist ideologies all work together to create the mess we have today. America IS exceptional at that.
With the influence of politicians, media, and elitists, they have shifted the conversation away from any legislation or idea that is progressive. I don’t mean “progressive” in the political sense, but “progressive” in the moral sense. We are the only country that demonizes gun control, racial equity, class equity, climate change, and other social issues. These influences reshape the debate as anti-American if one believes in progressivism –– “us” versus “them.” I see this rising with far-right, nationalist extremist groups and political figures that serve in Congress.
The mental gymnastics and willful ignorance of the mass shootings and police murders of black people are upsetting. We have become indifferent to trauma because trauma is normalized. Are we not tired of seeing violent death? Are we not tired of seeing families devastated by these killings? Are we not tired of “thoughts and prayers?”
Apparently not and that is troubling.