Yet another mass shooting today in San Bernardino, CA. Let me just state at the onset here, that the solution or overall ‘panacea’ to addressing the growing violence and number of mass shootings in the United States is not found with “gun control” per se. That is not the angle I am coming from here whatsoever.
I don’t meant to over-generalize, but we don’t address the issue of violent road rage by suggesting we stop selling cars, etc. The source of the problem that is SCREAMING to be addressed today is the underlying lack of ethics and human/community values in our American culture that need have NOTHING to do with organized religion. Matter of fact it is critical that they do not. Please read on so that I can expound on why that is so important.
Every time we have one of these mass shootings, and they are increasing at an alarming rate, we always go through the same media ritual of trying to analyze the shooter(s), because OF COURSE the blame must lie primarily with them…After all, our red, white and blue, post-truth, pretentious and shallow, recreational drug-loving, material obsessed, angry and violent, polarized and stand-offish culture couldn’t possibly be the real primary culprit, could it?
In addition to that ritual of obsessing over the ‘motive’ of the shooter(s), we get the media always doing the equivalent of squirting a gallon of kerosene on the fire of the problem, by guaranteeing the shooter(s) a sustained spotlight of fame…sure you could call it ‘infamy’ rather than fame in a positive sense, but nowadays in our sick, violent-prone society in America, most new television shows are tending to have a strong element of celebration of things criminal or “bad” (Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Fargo, Better Call Saul, etc).
Such a spotlight of infamy is exactly what these mass shooters CRAVE…and the media is falling all over themselves to accommodate them every time. WHY?
The answer proves my point above about the nature of our culture today that we have to change. The answer is because of RATINGS! Because they know what I wrote above is true about the culture of the American public today…They know that to say people are addicted to “violence porn” and “grief porn” is a huge UNDERSTATEMENT, and that it draws viewers like flies to sh*t, who quickly start their Jiffy Pop popcorn en mass, while they sit glued to the footage. In our sick culture in America today, that is EXACTLY what the media and the advertisers to whom they prostitute themselves, are counting on.
“If it BLEEDS it LEADS” continues to be the ‘ethic’ (I am of course using the term ethic sarcastically) of the media. But the problem is that ethics were thrown out the window a long time ago in our society, with only a pretense and facade of ethics remaining when it suits the media’s commercial interests today.
Let me phrase that another way…The ethic of ‘doing the right thing’ is still in the mix but just with a couple of words added…DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR YOUR ADVERTISERS. Money, not community values, is the ONLY THING that matters in our culture today.
The reason I take the time out of my schedule to frequently write about the things I share with you, is because it saddens me greatly to watch the corrupt and excessive religious and political polarization, along with the rapid degrading and ethical decline of our culture in the United States, a country I served in the military and love very passionately.
America is arguably the greatest nation on the planet. Arguably I say, because if we continue going in the ugly, corrupt, unethical and ‘anti-community’ direction we’re going in the fast-lane, that will not be the case much longer.
I can clearly see what the solution is. I write about it all the time, but not surprisingly, few people seem to be willing to take the time to speak out with me. Some people would rather rationalize and pretend that they have an ‘attention deficit issue’ that prevents them from reading more than a paragraph. But they don’t seem to have any problem reading soft porn books like “50 Shades of Grey”, etc.
Or worse yet, that ‘attention deficit’ excuse makes many people seek out yet another drug…but if the ‘attention deficit drug’ worked that they claim they need, how do you explain why they continually keep using that ‘attention deficit’ issue as an excuse for not reading, learning and speaking out together to effect the change in our community that is needed? Instead, many people today spend their time obsessed with the latest Facebook game, or shopping on Amazon and Ebay, etc. But that isn’t “COMMUNITY” by a long shot.
One of the biggest reasons we are seeing our culture degrading to the degree that it is, is because we have virtually lost any kind of COMMUNITY in our society. It’s hard enough for ‘well adjusted’ people to deal with this reality every day, let alone those who are emotionally or mentally challenged on the margins. And it is one of the biggest lies out there that the internet is contributing to a sense of community.
‘Online community’ is as different as night and day from real world community. You say you have 2000 ‘friends’ on Facebook? Good for you, I almost have that many…but how many of them will help you move if you ask them? That’s right, you maybe have 3 real friends…the rest won’t remember you if you died tonight, except to maybe click on the like button of one of your 3 friends who made a memorial post for you. It’s time to get real.
I was just watching the CNN special with Anderson Cooper last night that is all about 13 year old children and their online ‘social communities’. Its major focus is on showcasing how harmful and addicting they often are, and how vastly different in a negative way that they behave and interact when they don’t have to deal with one another in person, or when they have anonymity behind a screen.
The truth is, this isn’t isolated to teenagers…Teenagers LEARN IT FROM THE CULTURE ALL AROUND THEM!
Which leads me to another important point – The common mistake that is always being made by so many and that needs to change, which is that people think the answer is to go in one of two ‘false-solution’ directions…
Either they think: “By God, the answer is JESUS CHRIST! It’s all because of the DEVIL! They must REPENT or they will all BURN IN HELL forever,(or some more watered down but same context response) etc, etc. As I have detailed on numerous occasions, this is a HUGE part of the problem that only helps to fuel the violence and hate in the world. This is the mindset of both followers of the Bible AND the Koran. (If you claim to be a Christian and don’t think that is true, you are utterly clueless about the fundamental content in the book you claim to believe in!)
THIS DOES NOT HELP TO HEAL the problem with our sick culture…On the contrary, it is a big part of perpetuating the problem. The reason is because it does not reflect real unconditional spiritual love and forgiveness…It is all about ‘conditional’ love, religious elitism, and the exclusion of all others who have a diverse faith, causing them to feel hate and condemnation from others. That is entirely man-made, it’s been going on for many centuries in each of the Big Three organized religions, and it is the opposite of the true healing that comes from a proper understanding of spiritual truth and what God is.
That said, the other false, knee-jerk direction that people respond with to the topic of the violent and anti-community direction we are going, is that they think the answer is to run to promoting recreational drug use. That is extremely irresponsible and nothing but a huge cop-out. It’s two extreme sides of the spectrum…Either the organized religious people who only help to add to the division and elitism, or it’s the dope enthusiasts who never seem to have an answer for me when I ask them what kind of example is that to set for young people?
They come back with “It’s freedom! Freedom to do whatever we want is all that matters!” No, our forefathers included another element in their belief and championing of the cause for freedom, and guess what that was? RESPONSIBILITY!
They cautioned that freedom without responsibility was anarchy, and the road to the destruction of a free society. The lack of responsibility is a huge contributing factor to our sick, degrading culture today that is far from what our forefathers intended when they wrote the Constitution.
We don’t need any more SUPERSTORES, we need more mom and pop hardware stores and general stores. We don’t need any more cathedrals and fancy churches that teach they are the only way to heaven (that is the constant teaching of the Bible and the Koran).
We need more mom and pop coffee shops, town squares and artistic community centers that bring the diversity of our community together to make each other feel equally respected and valued UNCONDITIONALLY. We need more funding of mental health clinics and homeless shelter programs that have no connection to the religious dogma of organized religion, etc.
With our growing and extreme lack of community, combined with our
‘uber-selfish’, violent and drug prone culture in America, it should be NO surprise we are seeing a gradual increase in mass shootings by individuals who are often on the edge of society with mental and emotional challenges,
So let’s at LEAST make this deal with ourselves…If we don’t have the time or the character to join together to BE THE CHANGE that is needed in returning community, human values and ethics to our society, and if we are going to make our popcorn and sit and watch the latest viral violence and grief porn video footage that the media is showing us every chance we get, then lets at LEAST stop engaging in the hypocritical B.S. of pretending that the primary cause of the violence is all on the shooter(s).
(Connie Bryan is a writer in Sacramento California…Check out much more of her material on her blog at www.conniebryan.com)