Are we responsible for our own actions? Do we have free will? Do we know what that means?
The enemy stands defiantly before you
. . . . it is US!
~ ki ~
ANATOMY OF A MASSACRE
~ II ~
THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT!
Everything that ever happens in life is from a process of cause and effect. If you eat food, you will have the opportunity to live. When you speak words, there is the possibility of communication and understanding. If you shoot someone, there is a chance they will die. We live in a society that cares little for what causes things. We obsess about the effects. We want to control the end result without determining the reasons why. This is ignorance at its worse. It is pretty near impossible. If we knew the reasons why, we might be able to fix things, but we also may come face to face with who and what is responsible. But we are Americans. We don't accept responsibility for almost anything. It's not my fault. It must be someone else.
The devil made me do it!
We have just experienced another tragic shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida. The day was a surprise. The location was a surprise. But the event was not. I was not surprised at all. Not expecting it exactly, but not surprised. I knew it to be inevitable. As we now wait for the next one. And it WILL happen again.
And the media begins its gluttonous orgy of irresponsible questions for the students who survived, the gratuitous interviews with the family members, the quick rush to judgment of everyone involved. The beginning of the end of careers whether deserved or not. The ignition of the political flames that have been smoldering since the last such event. The gore, the sorrow, the fear, the hate. It's a great day to be in 'media'. The ratings are up. There just may be a bonus in all of this. Maybe a book. The kids who died? 'Hey, I didn't kill them. I JUST report the news'. Really? I find it so very distasteful. So unnecessary. So self-serving. The sensationalism should be left to the checkout line rags for those so inclined. Unfortunately, it seems that this is what America wants, which does not reflect well on them at all.
Call me old fashioned, but I long for the day when journalism actually existed, so many years ago. I guess I am just being naïve, for undoubtedly the motivations and ambitions have not really changed. They are now just so blatantly self-absorbed that I am taken aback. I am well past disappointed. Their actions, the whole industry, have devolved into a repugnant morass. Much like Washington politics, and there are many relationships there.
As I understand it, Journalism was supposed to be a noble calling. The last bastion of truth, teaching and informing the hungry citizens with information to ensure a vibrant and prosperous American Dream. Is that what you see? It was meant to be objective and unbiased, non-partisan and comprehensive. All the news that is fit to read or know. A light in the darkness of ignorance and lies and misinformation. Well, someone turned off the light some time ago. Today, it is rare to even see a flicker.
For us to address the issue of this tremendous carnage that takes place in our schools, as well in our society at large, we will need to do something to understand not that these shootings occur, but exactly what is causing them. We need to NOT be diverted by the bloody aftermath, but search for the answers as to why they happen at all. The tired call for gun control already reverberates through the halls of Congress and through the bullhorns of the mindless protesters. It’s been tried. It failed. Short of total confiscation of every single gun in America, it will NOT stop the killing. Guns are not the problem. People are the problem. Why do they kill the way they do? What is wrong with them? What makes them do these terrible things? Never have we had the need of our representatives and journalism to help us find our way through this. Some people are trying to find clarity, but very few seem to care. The thinkers are not being asked to speak to Congress. They are not being asked their findings on air. They are not being interviewed by the talking heads. We do not want information. We do not want resolution. We want conflict. We want partisanship. We get little but hate.
It starts well before these child killers come to school. The evidence is there, and has been dismissed as irrelevant before, but is it? Take a silly thing like video games. Talk about mind-numbing on so many levels. I know that people don't like to hear it but we have been desensitizing our children for decades. Is it not a possibility? From so many directions. It is so systematic that it appears as a conspiracy. If it is not, it is a terrible turn of events. Most of the video games available are not the traditional, innocuous Mario or q-Bert. They are dramatic and intense. You have to kill as many people as possible. Extra points for taking out 'bitches'. War games that are nothing but a vast array of weapons that do little but kill as fast as your little fingers can move. Is there strategy? Is there thought involved? Not much. Just kill as much as you can. Fantasy games where you continually run into hordes of whatever, indiscriminately killing to obtain treasures and even more efficient weapons to kill even more hordes. We create killing machines and we have to ask where all this is coming from? Anybody ever hear of Chess or Risk? These are war games of strategy and military domination. No blood. No gore. Actually teaches the child how to think, and plan ahead. It makes you use your imagination. Video games are a force-feed of violent actions and a total disregard for life. Nothing positive except maybe eye-hand coordination. Nothing else. I am not saying that video games are responsible all the time. Not even most of the time. Just that it is but one in a huge arsenal of weapons that is damaging children that are already susceptible to effects from negative stimulus. It certainly doesn't help.
I don’t want to minimize what has happened here in Florida. Or any of the other 200+ school shootings since Columbine. Or Orlando. Or Las Vegas. Or Aurora. Or ............... the list seems endless. It is very sad. But these events did not happen because of video games. At least not JUST because of them. It is difficult to determine the responsibility. It is an impossible quest. For one, it may have been a primary cause and effect. In another, completely irrelevant, or least a minimal reason why.
And then there are shows on TV, quickly being replaced by the internet where parental oversight is virtually nonexistent. I remember watching television from my position on the floor, with my parents both in the room, reading a book or watching along with me. Talk about the good old days. If you are a parent and think you have no skin in the game, you are sadly mistaken. If you do not invest the time in your children there is no return of value, because there was no value. Children care little of "quality" time. Only a lot of time itself. Teaching moments are hard to come by. You need to actually be there when they present themselves. You cannot schedule them. For many, there are none at all. Why are you even having these children?
Having said that there was still a huge amount of violence in the 'olden' days. The 3 stooges. Westerns. Any action flick. Any cop show. Science fiction. Ever see an intellectual science fiction where they ponder diversity and tolerance? Not so much. Think Hollywood has anything to do with that? Think they care? Not a chance. Ever see anything at all intellectual from Hollywood? Sex drugs and rock and roll. Non-stop shooting and car chases and destruction. But so little thinking. So little education. So little value of any kind. And if not violence, then self-gratification. Sex. Control. Kidnappings. Torture. And it gets worse with each passing year. The disrespect for life is rampant. And the disrespect for women? Do you see what they wear? The detective, or better yet, the chief of police is a woman and dressed to kill. Cleavage down to her navel. You think the 12-year-old is respecting her? He likes it but respect is not in his mind. Do they respect themselves? It may help the ratings or their careers but it is not helping the 'me-too' movement. I wonder sometimes if they think at all. What a grab-bag of psychoses just waiting to take seed in the mind of a damaged human being. It starts when they are young. It can manifest itself when you least expect it and when you don't want it. And when they actually try and do something educational? They can't help themselves from creating ideological indoctrination. Even when they create nature shows they just have to editorialize and include comments and 'facts' that are little more than opinions. It seems that the only shows without agendas are cooking shows, and most of them are ethnic. You just can't win. And you are surprised we are raising 'loaded guns' waiting to explode? Excuse my analogy, but it seemed extremely apropos. If my irreverence for taboos is not already evident, it should become abundantly apparent at some point.
Our children are not stupid. It may seem like it at times but they have been watching. Everything. Everyone. Their actions and their reactions. They have been listening as well. Every word. They have seen and heard all of it. They see the hypocrisy in the world all around them. The hypocrisy of politics. No surprise there. The talk of working together. The talk of bipartisanship. The talk of making life better for Americans. They see it for the lie it is. At times, I think they understand on a level deeper than the adults, who have passed the point of no return in their 'intellectual' development. And please, do not dismiss the hypocrisy of the teachers, and the parents. Our children are not spontaneous combustion. They are a culmination of experience and environment. They are what they are for a reason. YOU create what they become.
It is much more difficult with their teachers. They have grown up learning to trust them. They have personal relationships with them. Friendships. In contrast to politicians, who exist pretty much only on the screen, where little if anything is real. Their teachers have helped them through difficult times, at least some of them. But many become disturbed when they preach love but exhibit hate. When they talk of tolerance but show bias and favoritism. When they practice selective diversity. All the things teachers are NOT supposed to do. Complex concepts, but they do see and feel, even if they do not understand.
And then, of course, there are the parents. I honestly believe that most of them want to love their children but I am not sure they understand how to do it. The attempt to control the child, due to confusion and frustration, with the child as well as their own personal and professional lives that demand attention. The conflict with spouses and other siblings. Divorce again and again. The outright derision and hatred of political opponents and work and life in general. And the failure to keep it under control. The children hear all of this. They see everything that you do. They rarely understand. Don't you understand this damages them? Don't you know this is part of the problem?
All of these things promote disillusionment and disrespect for life. All the vitriol. All the enmity. All the hatred. And we haven't even mentioned the elephant in the room. Let's talk about that which cannot be named. The Voldemort of America. The real reasons why people are willing and able to kill without compunction, without even feeling. How is this possible? You want to talk of disrespect for life? I do not understand how a child, of any age, can comprehend such a concept as abortion. I am at a loss myself, dealing with the concept of willingly destroying a life that had no choice in its existence but is snuffed out on a whim. This was the beginning of the end for America. If there was ever a single reason for the carnage we see on our streets today, this would be it. I don't really care of your position on abortion. I don't care if you are pro or con. I don't care if you are religious or atheist. We are talking of the damage being done to our future shooters. The total disregard for life. Because they were taught it is a matter of individual choice to kill. Do you think that a 5-year-old can wrestle with the concept? A 10-year-old? A 15-year-old? They grow up loving their little siblings as well as any baby they see. You see the love in their eyes. The tender caress they give the infant. The fierce protection they offer the vulnerable being. I know you've seen them when they meet someone pregnant with life in their belly. They become absorbed in the wonder and the reality of there being a 'baby in there'. What do they think when people want to throw it away, and say there is no life there. The child knows there IS life there. It was not long ago that they were 'in there'. On some level, they know. They remember. Do you wonder why they grow up damaged? For these reasons and a hundred more. Few are born damaged. We damage them ourselves. And at some point, it becomes time to pay the piper. Maybe not you particularly, but someone has to. The damage was great. Those irretrievably damaged are few. The result is dead children. WE did that. It was and is inevitable. It WILL happen again.
Whose fault was it? Why, yours of course. And mine. We are all responsible. Everybody.
The devil made us do it.