Sunday, October 28, 2018
What will it take to end the mass shootings?
Stephen King's first chapter in his little book, Guns, is entitled "The Shake." He outlines the 22 predictable steps we go through in America when there has been a mass shooting. It is so predictable that the violence has become banal.
Mass shootings are great for the NRA and the gun stores because gun sales will go up, and its great for the cable news networks because viewership goes up, and its great for people who like drama because the news and views are very emotionally arousing until one just becomes calloused and is no longer moved because it is so familiar.
The current mass shooting in Pittsburg at the synogogue on 10/27/18 should come as no surprise, and the perpetrator, a 46 year old white male, whose existential pain has been channeled toward a convenient scapegoat, comes from central casting. Robert Bowers, 46, killed 11 people, 8 men and 3 women all over 54 and most in their 70s, 80s, and 90s.
There will be much kvetching over this incident, but, as Stephen King points out in his book Guns, nothing will be done by government officials who take their instructions from the NRA and the voters who elect them to office.
Three things will change this common scenario in American society: a change in norms and values, a decrease in access to guns, and better laws and regulations governing the possession and handling of firearms among the public. The later two conditions will not be met without a significant change in the first.
It is in changing the norms and attidudes of our society and communities that Unitarian Univeralists come in. We can be the yeast in the dough. With what norm and attitude do we start? Perhaps it is best if we start with the first - the inherent worth and dignity of every person. This means we must fight the racism, the xenophobia, the mysogony of Trumpism.
Unitarian Univeralistis believe in the value of diversity and inclusion. Have you shared this idea with your family and neighbors? If we can open our hearts in love, perhaps this will be an example for the world.
Until we change the norms and attitudes in our society there will be more Robert Bowers and more Cesar Sayocs.