Tuesday, December 1, 2015

WTF is Going On?

©2015 by LeeZard 

I am sad. I am angry. I am frustrated and shaking my head in disbelief. As the recent Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shootings – which took place just a few short miles from my front door – still shudder through the country I can’t help but ask, What the Fuck is Going On??!!??

If we can forget for a moment the plague of international terrorism, let’s focus on what is happening right here in the world’s most violent nation – domestic terrorism, an increasing racial divide, fear and hate at every turn. Let me repeat, I am sad. I am angry. I am frustrated and shaking my head in disbelief. Moreover, I feel powerless to do anything about it but grieve for my country.

We already know that America has more guns per capita than any other nation on the planet, almost 89 per 100 people with Yemen number two at just under 60 per 100 people. Saudi Arabia is the first Arab country on the list, checking in at number seven with about 35 guns per 100 people.[1] What a sad story.

According to CNN:
“Using numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we found that from 2001 to 2013, 406,496 people died by firearms on U.S. soil. (2013 is the most recent year CDC data for deaths by firearms is available.) This data covered all manners of death, including homicide, accident and suicide.

According to the U.S. State Department, the number of U.S. citizens killed overseas as a result of incidents of terrorism from 2001 to 2013 was 350.

In addition, we compiled all terrorism incidents inside the U.S. and found that between 2001 and 2013, there were 3,030 people killed in domestic acts of terrorism. This brings the total to 3,380.”[2]  
Even if you factor in the deaths from 9/11, it’s still not even close.

Listen, I can bombard you with all sorts of numbers to prove the point that is already accepted by most people. What troubles me even more than the data is the vibe in this country right now. This ain’t the summer of love.

In fact, these times remind me more of 1968 than that “magic” summer of love in 1967. 
Sixty-eight is the single most violent year I can recall; Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated, the Chicago riots at the Democratic National Convention and race riots all across the country in more than 100 cities following MLK’s death. 

Yes, we had landmark civil rights legislation in the 1960s but the racial divide is alive and well today and race riots are definitely not a thing of the past.

I think the tone in America today is far worse. I am not a fan of sweeping generalizations about large groups of people but I feel pretty safe in joining the hue and cry against the radical religious right in this country along with the lovely and talented (and closet fascist) Donald Trump for fanning the flames of fear and hatred that often lead to violence.

That is not to say the Democrats are totally blameless. Of all the presidential candidates, only Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has the balls (or ovaries) to lay the blame, directly or indirectly at the feet of the radical religious right and Adolph Trump.

And, according to at least one academic study, incidents of gun violence breed more of the same. 
“Mass killings and school shootings in the U.S. appear to be contagious, according to a team of scientists from Arizona State University and Northeastern Illinois University.

Study author Sherry Towers, research professor in the ASU Simon A. Levin Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center, explained, 'The hallmark of contagion is observing patterns of many events that are bunched in time, rather than occurring randomly in time.'
Her team examined databases on past high-profile mass killings and school shootings in the U.S. and fit a contagion model to the data to determine if these tragedies inspired similar events in the near future.
 They determined that mass killings - events with four or more deaths - and school shootings create a period of contagion that lasts an average of 13 days. Roughly 20 to 30 percent of such tragedies appear to arise from contagion.”[3]
What can we do about all of this? It is what scares me the most; I think the question is virtually unanswerable or, that horse has left the barn or, you can’t put the genie back in the lamp.

I have another question, “What even more horrific tragedy must yet occur before we are forced to find the solution(s)?”

[1] CNN.com, from a 2007 survey (I guarantee the number hasn’t gone down since then): Countries with most guns per capita