I’ve been watching the news on and off since early this morning. Fifty dead in a nightclub shooting. Terrorism has once again found it’s way into American streets. Those who are fond of saying “It won’t happen here”; who have faded memories of 9/11 or even those too young to remember that day are now reconsidering.
I’ve watched Facebook too. The current political campaign immediately jumped on this tragic news to further their own agenda. Personally, I am a gun owner. If ISIS suddenly unleashed thousands upon thousands of sleepers in the United States, as has just happened in Orlando, I’m not going to be taken from my home or dragged from my car and beheaded in the street without some kind of fight. The people who are trying to buy your vote do not need to worry about being attacked, they are surrounded by guards at all times. Yes, even Bernie. Gun issues are a tool for them to stand on or reject based on what their campaign managers see trending in the American public. Mass shooting? “We hate guns.” Gun owner defends a kindergarten? “Guns are good in responsible hands.”
This is more than guns however. This is where we have arrived as a people. There have always been mass shootings. The difference is, there was no CNN blaring it over your Apple Watch, phone, computer and digital signage on every corner. A great quote from a bad movie comes to mind:
“Come on! How many innocent victims splattered across a window would it take to have the city reverse its policy on hostage situations? And this is 1976; there’s no CNN, there’s no CNBC, there’s no internet! Now fast forward to today, present time, same situation. How quickly would the modern media make a frenzy over this?”
While it is true we have had gun crime since the dawn of firearms, they have not changed all that much. What has changed is people. Our patience is shorter because we have become used to instant gratification. Our tolerance of others has been tested by the media splashing imagery of death and destruction and blaming it on an entire religion when really, only a small subset of that religion is responsible. If ISIS represents all Muslims then Westboro represents all Christians… Right?
We have let media choose what we believe. Consider the below infographic which shows how six companies control what you see. (Click image to enlarge.)
We have allowed the television in the living room, in the restaurant control us. We have allowed the Internet; which was supposed to bring us closer together, drive us apart.
What can be done? Isn’t that what everyone is asking? Likewise, everyone seems to have an answer and so I’ll throw mine into the pot.
Perhaps we should stop teaching our children to hate. Perhaps skin color matters a lot less than you were brought up to believe. Maybe your god is just as good as someone else’s or… Maybe they are the same yet remembered and celebrated in different ways. Maybe we need to stop taking money away from schools in order to build football stadiums and start funding a better people rather than a better football season.