November 20, 2017

“This world is ruled by violence”

David and Jonathan, Conegliano

Democracy don’t rule the world
You’d better get that in your head
This world is ruled by violence
But I guess that’s better left unsaid

• Bob Dylan

• • •

The Bible has a lot more to say about violence and its devastating effects upon the human race than it does about other sins, such as sexual misbehavior. “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence,” the Flood story begins. The one story in our faith that talks about God’s judgment in universal terms blames it on violence. Many Jews have read the murderous story of Cain and Abel, rather than that of Adam and Eve as the account of humankind’s original sin. It’s hard to find a page in the Hebrew prophets that doesn’t decry violence vividly.

The very first moral danger the wise teacher in Proverbs warns the young against is this:

My child, if sinners entice you,
do not consent.
If they say, ‘Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
let us wantonly ambush the innocent;
like Sheol let us swallow them alive
and whole, like those who go down to the Pit.
We shall find all kinds of costly things;
we shall fill our houses with booty.
Throw in your lot among us;
we will all have one purse’—
my child, do not walk in their way,
keep your foot from their paths;
for their feet run to evil,
and they hurry to shed blood.

• Proverbs 1:10-16

Why isn’t this kind of wisdom teaching, this moral instruction, chapter one, front and center, instead of the fluff we continue to publish in our anemic, insubstantial “discipleship” manuals?

Why, my fellow Christians in the United States of America, are we not out of our minds with grief, anger, lament, and a commitment to repent and change our ways when it comes to violence in our land? Why is this not right at the top of our agenda when speaking out on public issues and working for the common good?

Yet another case has occurred where someone walked into a church — a church, mind you, a place where the Gospel of the Prince of Peace is proclaimed — and mowed down people with an assault rifle. 26 are dead as of this writing.

As of this moment, we don’t know why. I’m not sure it matters in the end. What matters is what we do know: the U.S. is tragically exceptional when it comes to these mass shootings. We have more of them more often and with more deadly results than anywhere else in the world. And those are just the spectacular cases. Research published in the American Journal of Medicine found that Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed by firearms than people in other developed countries. Among developed countries, the U.S. stands out in violence, and particularly in this kind of violence. Even though we are in a period when the murder rate is nearly half of what it was in 1980, our prisons are still full and we are subjected to reports of violent incidents day in and day out.

Maybe more than anything else, we ought to just own up. America is the most violent country in the developed world. We thrive on it. We feast on it as entertainment. We can’t turn away from it on the news. It is part of our DNA that has been honed and developed through every stage of our nation’s history. We are not a peace-loving people. We want to dominate, control, and have our way in the world. Go ahead, offer me reasons why that’s a good thing and how bad the alternative would be if the U.S. weren’t such a superpower, forcing its will around the globe. Maybe. All I know is that this approach has made us crave power on a level that would shame Attila the Hun. And it’s a mindset that infects us all, whether we realize it or not, in big ways and small. Just watch the way people drive around your city, how they rage through the streets. We are a fiercely independent and selfish people, who take umbrage at the smallest slight and put up our dukes whenever we think we’ve been dissed.

Of course we’re not all mass shooters. But there’s a continuum here, and given enough freedom, access to weapons, and mental strain, who’s to say what any of us might do?

There are no “answers.” I happen to advocate common sense gun reforms, and I seriously cannot believe organizations like the NRA keep important research institutions like the Centers for Disease Control from studying gun violence as a public health threat — that it is is surely the most obvious fact in our nation. But “gun control,” as sane and common sense as some of it might be, won’t cure us of corrupt and violent hearts. Nor will some of the conservative answers — like more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens — do anything but continue to ramp up the violence. Both sides in this debate cling to myths, and the biggest one of all is that the leopard has the ability to change its spots. That doesn’t mean I think we should stop working to prevent violence, I’m just saying the problem is bigger than any political solution and we simply haven’t faced up to that. I am violent. You are violent. This world is ruled by violence.

But where in hell (literally) is the church? Why shouldn’t we be in the front lines of peacemaking when it comes to actively promoting sane remedies for the violence in our communities? Don’t we owe love like this to one another and to our neighbors? Conservatives abhor the violence of abortion, but are deadly silent when it comes to the slaughter chronicled each day in the news. Progressives detest the oppression of and violence against marginalized people, but have used tactics in the culture wars that can only be described as tribal and warlike.

Here are the thoughts of Wendell Berry on this subject, and I’m thinking of re-running them every time we have a significant event of violence that takes over the news. His point is that we’re simply not invested in doing anything to change the status quo. Not only do we not know the answers, we really don’t want to know them, because our entire social, political, and economic life is based upon violence and how it profits us.

This cheapening of life, and the violence that inevitably accompanies it, is surely the dominant theme of our time. The ease and quickness with which we resort to violence would be astounding if it were not conventional. …Each new resort to violence enlarges the argument against our species, and the task of hope becomes harder.

…The event in _________ is not unique or rare or surprising or in any way new. It is only another transaction in the commerce of violence: the unending, the not foreseeably endable, exchange of an eye for an eye, with customary justifications on every side, in which we fully participate; and beyond that, it is our willingness to destroy anything, any place, or anybody standing between us and whatever we are “manifestly destined” to have.

We congratulate ourselves perpetually upon our Civil War by which the slaves were, in a manner of speaking, “freed.” We forget, if we have ever learned, that the same army that “freed the slaves” established for us the “right” of military violence against a civilian population, and then acted upon that “right” by a war of extermination against the native people of the West. Nobody who knows our history, from the “Indian wars” to our contemporary foreign wars of “homeland defense,” should find anything unusual in the massacre of civilians and their children.

It is not possible for us to reduce the value of life, including human life, to nothing only to suit our own convenience or our own perceived need. By making this reduction for ourselves, we make it for everybody and anybody, even for our enemies, even for the maniacs whose enemies are schoolchildren or spectators at a marathon.

We forget also that violence is so securely founded among us— in war, in forms of land use, in various methods of economic “growth” and “development”— because it is immensely profitable. People do not become wealthy by treating one another or the world kindly and with respect. Do we not need to remember this? Do we have a single eminent leader who would dare to remind us?

…The solution, many times more complex and difficult, would be to go beyond our ideas, obviously insane, of war as the way to peace and of permanent damage to the ecosphere as the way to wealth. Actually to help our suffering of one man-made horror after another, we would have to revise radically our understanding of economic life, of community life, of work, and of pleasure. We employ thousands of scientists and spend billions of dollars to reduce matter to its smallest particles and to search for farther stars. How many scientists and how many dollars are devoted to harmony between economy and ecology, or to amity and lenity in the face of hatred and killing? To learn to meet our needs without continuous violence against one another and our only world would require an immense intellectual and practical effort, requiring the help of every human being perhaps to the end of human time.

This would be work worthy of the name “human.” It would be fascinating and lovely.

From “The Commerce of Violence” (2013)
In Our Only World: Ten Essays

Comments

  1. Violence is as American as cherry pie — H. Rap Brown

    …all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. — Matthew 26:52

  2. The implicit recognition in Berry’s words is that the violent tendency and realization that is so lamentable is not a uniquely American problem, but a human one. It’s true that America is very good at violence, perhaps the best at it that any nation has ever been, but violence is in the heart of humanity. In view of the fact that it is indeed impossible to eliminate the violence in the human heart, the pragmatic thing to do is to try to limit its outworking into the world where bodies can actually pile up, by agreed to democratic regulation of weaponry. The tragedy of America is not that human hearts will never be changed, but that enough bodies will never pile up for us as a nation to agree to limit the means by which the ugliness in the human heart is made external by the effective production of massive numbers of corpses. We like being good at violence, we like having power, we like ruling the international world, we like guns and shooting, and we are, and I think will continue to be, unwilling to give that up.

    • Even if we do impose such regulations the question still needs to be asked why these types of shootings are happening with such frequency during our era. And I don’t think it is enough to say that there is violence in the human heart and there is nothing we can do about it. These things (mass shootings) didn’t happen nearly as much in our country before the last twenty years, even though guns were readily available. So we need to try and figure out what is going on even if we do outlaw guns.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        >I don’t think it is enough to say that there is violence in the human heart

        +1,000,000,000
        This is usually a hand-wave to deflect the discussion.
        Yet hundreds of millions of people co-exist peaceably in cities multiples denser than New York. There appears to be a cooperative and emphatic spirit in the human heart. Perhaps we should focus on that?

        > and there is nothing we can do about it.

        Clearly there is, as rates of violence change and vary regionally. Again lots of hand-waving occurs: since we cannot *END* violence we should just sit back and observe the slaughter.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          The usual Activsts are SCREAMING the usual Slogans over Media — mainstream and Social.

          “26 Dead — What an Opportunity to Advance MY Agenda!”

          • Almost like this is a false flag event in order to increase gun sales…checkmate atheists derp.

            I’d rather not get lost in a semantics fundamentalist argument today.

            • Christiane says:

              I agree. Painful days.
              A time to mourn, yes. And keep a vigil candle lit and say the old prayers again.

              “For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”
              (from ‘The Stolen Child’, Yeats)

        • Burro [Mule] says:

          Let’s talk about peacemaking, please.

          When I hear the word, it mostly irritates me. I take public transit to work. Daily, the bus passes two churches, a Baptist one and a PCUSA one, with their liberal bonafides splattered all over the front lawn. You know them; “Immigrants and Refugees Welcome”, “Black Lives Matter”, “People Over Profits”,etc. When I pass by, the message I get is “We aren’t like those BAD white people over there!. Close to the ground there is a litle sign; “peacemaking spoken here”.

          Yeah, right. You have a whole panoplia of tribal markings as overt as a MS-13 hitman’s facial tatoos, and you’re going to tell me you’re interested in PEACEMAKING?

          Start with me. There are enough center-left types here who know my predilections (admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin, gender essentialism, explicit mainstreaming of lifelong heterosexual monogamy) to engage in a little rough peacemaking.

          • Tribalism is practiced by all sides. Slogans reinforce the boundaries of the group. It is one reason I think I’ve always had this innate reaction against any “insider” language by any group. It hardens and becomes a barrier rather than an avenue to good communication. Mule, you and I make have very different perspectives on many matters, but I like it that we’re able to talk here. One thing I’ve always loved about Jesus is that, although he was part of a tribal culture, he was able to use language that cut through everybody’s crap and revealed the Kingdom. I always want to strive for that.

          • What does peacemaking look like when the person opposite wants to see you cease to exist?

          • Heather Angus says:

            Burro, Why not stop at one of those irritating churches and go in and talk to whoever’s there about these signs, and see what they say? Then come back here and tell us about your reception. (You did say you were ready for some rough peacemaking!)

            Certainly I, a flaming liberal, have been severely disappointed with the online behavior of many of my fellow liberals recently. Most who describe themselves as “tolerant, open-minded, and inclusive” prove to be anything but. I’ve made attempts to point this out on liberal sites, both secular and religious, with the results you might expect.

            I live deep in Trump country, but I do OK by not arguing much, but still sticking up for my views. I’d be very interested to hear the results of your church venture.

          • What is there in VP that could possibly be a source of admiration for anyone other than a Russian nationalist?

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              Russian Nationalism overlapping with Orthodoxy?

              (The Russian Orthodox Church hasn’t been very interested in separating the two.)

        • Burro [Mule] says:

          “Yet hundreds of millions of people co-exist peaceably in cities multiples denser than New York. There appears to be a cooperative and emphatic spirit in the human heart. Perhaps we should focus on that?”

          Singapore and Hong Kong spring immediately to mind. Singapore, especially, has an ethnically diverse population that appears to be able to live together in peace. Singapore does have a paternalistic and authoritarian government, though.

          I don’t know enough about the internal politics of India to know whether their union is a pacific one or not. Certainly there is an immense diversity in India that rivals even the European Community. I never hear anything about separatist or nationalist movements in India. Why is that?

          • Christiane says:

            Hello Burro,
            India did undergo a ‘separatist’ movement when Pakistan was formed. It was a bloody, terrible time in their history.

            I’m afraid all human nature is aggrieved by a ‘tribalism’ in ways probably in ancient times meant to help with survival but that now may lead us into ultimate destruction with our ‘modern’ ability to so completely destroy ‘the others’ . . . .

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            The current government is nationalist. Also, there have been increasing calls by extreme Hindu nationalists for the extermination of all others.

            Just because it isn’t a headline in the US, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

            As to separatist -how do you think Pakistan and Bangladesh came into being?

          • john barry says:

            Burro, Valencia Spain had a population of Muslims, Jews and Christians in the 15th century due to its turbulent history. I read long ago something that stuck with me that I find relevant, When queried about how 3 religions that fought each other could co exist and flourish the answer was “3 religions but one culture that we uphold”. Now that did not last long as soon the Christians threw out the Jews and even the Muslims who became Christian. El Cid with Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren at her most beautiful made an ok movie about Valencia and the Moors. . Back to my point in my life the common core values and culture of America have been diluted, changed, not taught and falling to neglect as we value diversity over common commitment , “out of many one” became just an old slogan. Also I recall Ghandi was shot by a Hindu because of his overtones to Muslims. So maybe being a little protective of national unity and culture is not as bad as we are led to believe. Maybe we chould go back to the melting pot. To some in America the First Amendment is not that important anymore and needs review as an example

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              Back to my point in my life the common core values and culture of America have been diluted, changed, not taught and falling to neglect as we value diversity over common commitment , “out of many one” became just an old slogan.

              Multicultural Diversity without a Common Commitment is called 1990s Yugoslavia.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Even if we do impose such regulations the question still needs to be asked why these types of shootings are happening with such frequency during our era.

        We’re moving into a Crisis Era and a lot of things are reaching critical mass/boiling over all at once?

      • Well, we’re still early in learning about this but it appears the gunman was ex-military, court martialed and sent to prison for domestic violence. When we talk about “mental health” issues with regard to purveyors of violence, I don’t think we’ve come to grips with how our inherently violent, militaristic approach to life has impacted large numbers of men and women with military backgrounds. We’ve just spent the past 15+ years sending hundreds of thousands of people who signed up for reserve duty on multiple tours of duty in war zones. Mental illness? How about souls shattered into a million pieces?

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          Agree

        • Truth.

        • john barry says:

          Chaplin Mike, the “military” experience of this loser who we will find out had mental problems was basically he was a administrative logistics paper pusher basically an airline worker that was in the
          Air Force two years. So unstable he abused wife and child. Families need to step in and demand treatment and accountability for their family members who display problems. Part of our problem is the ACLU and well meaning social justice workers for years have represented the mentally ill to free them from involuntary institutional care and mandated mental treatment on an outpatient basis. Coupled that with Regan era polices to cut cost and our old system of confining even those diagnosed with mental problems fell apart. That in part spurred the increase in the homeless and the mental ill loose in society with not support system. Until they commit an act that lands them in jail they are to their own devices. In Florida the Baker Act allows very limited time under lock up for mental evaluation and most people are released as quickly as possible. Also families are not prone to report or seek treatment for their relatives who display mental problems as basically we tolerate many behavior now that in the past would lead to at least some governmental review. This guy would have gone off the rails if he worked at any place . Dillon Roof , Sandy Hooker shooter no military just crazy. I do totally agree with you that the multiple deployments of our combat troops is just a terrible situation and why the Bush decision on Middle East wars and they manner they were fought is indefensible. Right now I would call this at root a fatal, crazy , domestic family abuse case as it appears he was after former in laws. I do not think this nut was a deep thinker but an abusive cowardly nut case who deserves absolutely no attention other than factual reporting. If it is true at least he had enough thought process to kill himself to save us from hearing about him anymore than we have to..

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Part of our problem is the ACLU and well meaning social justice workers for years have represented the mentally ill to free them from involuntary institutional care and mandated mental treatment on an outpatient basis. Coupled that with Reagan era polices to cut cost and our old system of confining even those diagnosed with mental problems fell apart.

            Yet another factor pushing last November’s conversion of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave into trump Tower DC.

            More things breaking down, more people afraid and looking for a Savior or mad as hell and looking for Payback.

          • You’re probably right. More is coming out now about his domestic problems. I was making a larger point that doesn’t just relate to mass shootings, but to violence of all kinds that haunts the lives of so many service folks. In this guy’s case the combination of dysfunction, perhaps mental illness, and military training with weapons formed a deadly cocktail. This may be a case where unconstrained access to guns might be a very pertinent issue.

          • When we hear “military” in his bio, by instinct we revert to the drug-crazed Vietnam vet or postal worker meme. In this instance, it appears his psychological/emotional issues had been coming on for some time.

            • Does the military in a case like this have any responsibility to inform the civil authorities that they’ve discharged a violent, perhaps mentally unstable person, who by the way, has been trained to use deadly force with military weapons? Maybe they do that already and I just don’t know.

              • No, I was a JAG and prosecuted discharge cases. Generally speaking, the military would prefer that civlian courts prosecute (to save the USAF money), so this one must have happened in on – base housing. The military’s obligation stops at discharge. Although there is a public record – themindividual is simply released back into civilian life and put into the VA system.

                • I thought that, if you’re dishonorably discharged, you don’t get VA benefits? In this case, he would not have had access to psychiatric care through the VA system….am I wrong?

                  • Was just assuming there… I never folllowed up what happened after they left the front gate.

                    • NPR had a big story around a year ago about how the military was dishonorably discharging thousands of soldiers every year for disciplinary reasons, but the disciplinary issues were really the result of mental health problems, ones that often developed during the soldiers’ service. A dishonorable discharge severs these soldiers from the VA mental health care they would otherwise have access to, and that they desperately need; but it costs the military far less to dump them than take care of them. It makes a joke out of the old saying that the military never leaves their own behind; maybe not, but they do dump them on the side of the road when their finished with them.

                    • Correction: …they’re finished with them.

                    • Which is what happens when the majority of your budget goes to white elephant weapons systems and global logistics…

  3. I think it’s also endemic to the Western Nations.

    As we come up to the Centenary of the end of WW1, I can’t get my head around the fact that the British Empire was so concerned at being “numero uno” in the world at that time, that they couldn’t envisage sharing economic power with Germany. They just had to form alliances that would contain German expansion and use the, “flashpoint” of the German invasion of Belgium, to go to war. The result, one of the bloodiest body counts in history.

    I think it is on the tail of WW1, that the world has changed & become a more violent place.

    It’s amazing that these wars were initiated in the “Christian nations” and that millions were hoodwinked into believing they were defnding something “righteous”.

    IT’s even more amazing that at minimum Christians don’t use the boundaries of a “just war”, in most cases.

    As to economic power. Violence is the opium of power. The brilliance of Western Nations is they have been able to hold it arms length, in other countries.

    Cheers
    Dennis

    • I strongly disagree. There were plenty of wars and revolutions in the 19th century – even Europe was not immune. And most modern historians place the plurality (not all, there’s still plenty to go around) of the blame for WWI on Germany’s drive to reorder continental Europe as it saw fit – the English would have preferred to stay out.

  4. Burro [Mule] says:
    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Yep.

      “””As a society we don’t reach for solutions that might address the underlaying structural flaws that create the underclass or the elites. Instead we look for ways deserving individuals can distance themselves from the effects of those structural defects. We assume a big chunk of the population will be left behind and we don’t mind so long as it’s the undeserving that get screwed. That’s always been our de facto national policy.”””
      https://granolashotgun.com/2017/04/09/the-jungle/

      • Phil Dickens says:

        Undeserving = those who are not like me.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          Exactly. And there is a lot wound up in that definition of “me”.

          • Burro [Mule] says:

            Let’s get explicit. Do you guys mean “white”? I think that’s an extremely facile way of framing the debate. My belief is that racism is a large component, but is used to deflect criticism and defuse arguments against what is really happening.

            I remember reading not long ago about the traps laid for the unwary attempting to assay entry into the upper-middle-class. The entry points were diminishing, and ingress was being more sharply policed than in the past. Yet someone like Ta-Nahesi Coates can go from eating ramen and living off his girlfriend to lecturing at the Aspen Institute in a few short years by having all the right tumblers fall into place. At the same time, Mr. Coates’ ascension in to the stratosphere of America’s intellectual class barred the entry for other equally erudite black intellectuals, as if there was only room for one guilty conscience-salver in the logismocracy.

            As someone who comes from a downwardly mobile family, the most difficult people I have to deal with are those who have dedicated their lives to gaining entrya nd have been frustrated in their attempts. They’re loaded for bear.

            • Seems to me we’re back to talking about tribalism here.

              • Burro [Mule] says:

                I think there’s something more sinister at work than just tribalism. Tribalism is baked into our DNA, but we can rise above it. I live in a neighborhood that sets off my “not my tribe” alarms constantly, but I get by. It does take conscious effort on the part of myself and my neighbors, though, and I don’t think that ever gets appreciated enough.

                I’m still not certain whether Christ’s Omega point for human society is the One Tribe model favored here, or the [mostly] mutually-respecting Confederation of Tribes modeled by the Orthodox Church.

                • Again, I think we’ll always have, and should have, tribes. The tribalism I speak of is what you described— protecting my group and guarding its boundaries lest anyone enter and change things. And on the other side, those so determined to break down barriers that their life becomes a wrecking ball.

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                    protecting my group and guarding its boundaries lest anyone enter and change things. And on the other side, those so determined to break down barriers that their life becomes a wrecking ball.

                    And the two go synergistic like a Bitch and Nag married to a Drunk and Proud of It.

                    Or the half-white and half-black aliens in that “Old Testament” Star Trek episode.

                  • Adam Tauno Williams says:

                    > I think we’ll always have, and should have, tribes.

                    Agree. And there are other sides to tribes:
                    – My tribe peaceably makes exchanges with your tribe; which is certainly the most common type of tribal interaction.
                    – My tribe sends people to visit, and possibly study, your tribe.
                    – My tribe helps out your tribe when some crisis or stress arrives.
                    – Your tribe helps out my tribe when some crisis or stress arrives.

                • Christiane says:

                  Hi Burro,
                  You wrote this:
                  ” Tribalism is baked into our DNA, but we can rise above it. ”

                  I think ‘our’ DNA may have been altered by the Incarnation in ways we cannot know and in ways that can give us hope. Maybe this ‘Advent’ season, we might think about the Incarnation in a new way and be more open to this possibility?

                  ” Love not just those of your own tribe,
                  your own class, family or people,
                  but those who are different,
                  those who are strangers,
                  who are strange to your ways,
                  who come from different cultural and religious traditions,
                  who seem odd,
                  those you do not understand.

                  Love as the Samaritan loved the man he found
                  beaten up by robbers,
                  somewhere on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho.” (Jean Vanier)

                  • Burro [Mule] says:

                    Christiane –

                    There is ample opportunity each and every day for me to put this into practice.

                    I have to admit that a lot of times I don’t know what love looks like or how it would act given some of the circumstances I frequently face. For me, actively having to have a ‘tribe’ is kind of inconvenient. If the sort of unrest that recently plagued St. Louis or Baltimore ever breaks out in Atlanta, I will be rather uniquely vulnerable. That point was recently driven home to me by the blackout that followed Hurricane Irma here.

                    Thank God I invested the time to get to know my neighbors.

                    • Christiane says:

                      “Thank God I invested the time to get to know my neighbors.”

                      Amen!

                      ‘And who is my neighbor’? I suppose we have a problem in our darkness recognizing the eyes of a brother, a neighbor, another human person to whom we can relate. There is a story in Judaism about ‘when’ we will know that the light has come . . . . when we can look into the eyes of a person and recognize in them that they are formed in the image of God and are also our friend, our neighbor, our brother.. . . . . then, we will know that the Light has come.

                      Perceptive hearts are needed. So that we will recognize our own humanity in the faces of one another as creatures made in the image of God.

                      I learned something over on SBCtoday about a famous evangelical minister who was for most of his life, a racist. Then something happened to him. Here are his own words in a testimony that moved me greatly and gave me hope:
                      ” “I never had a battle in my heart, I’ve never faced one in my life, and I never thought I’d have to go through it, as I have these last several years. Nobody in this earth knew that was going on in my soul, but I came to the firm conclusion that I had to change. And this man who needs me, whoever he is, is my brother, and my hand is outstretched. ”
                      (W.A. Criswell)

                      ‘Salvation is created
                      in midst of the Earth
                      O God, O Our God
                      Alleluia’

                • Klasie Kraalogies says:

                  Tribalism is a natural instinct – but so is shagging any good looking potential partner (excuse the language).

                  We have also evolved an intellect which can judge as to the desirability of perpetuating basic instincts. If we just give-up combating excessive tribalism, or even celebrate it, why not declare a sexual free-for-all. The 2 scenarios are completely equivalent.

                  • Burro [Mule] says:

                    That was kind of my point. My reputation must have occluded it.

                    • Burro [Mule] says:

                      why not declare a sexual free-for-all.

                      We haven’t?

                      The 2 scenarios are completely equivalent.

                      Agreed. Maybe the 2 scenarios are related in ways we haven’t yet discovered.

                    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

                      No we haven’t declared a sexual free-for all. What we have done is premise everything on informed consent. That is good. What I am referring to is not choice, but demanding, forcing the fulfillment of biologically driven desire, irrespective of its outcome. Mindless predation. Just like my sexual urge to be fulfilled, you must fulfill it, is contraindicated for anyone who has a functioning mind, so is “my tribe right/good, your tribe wrong/bad” .

            • Adam Tauno Williams says:

              > Let’s get explicit. Do you guys mean “white”?

              No. Or it might be. There are many axis people can use to create moral distance from someone. There is race, and class, and profession, and religion, or simply life-style. There is wnership vs. non-ownership [renters or migratory].

              And it might have been done in the past. I was listening to news coverage of this tragedy and one lady was talking about how they moved here because they felt that the rural nature of the community protected them from such things. There are many ways to parse that statement. Hearing race in that statement is not unreasonable.

      • Burro [Mule] says:
    • Patriciamc says:

      Well, Lawrence wanted to set up a utopian community near Taos. Utopia just isn’t possible anywhere. Also, I think of the outpouring of help here in the US after any disaster. The American people are most certainly not perfect, who is, but I do think that while there is violence, there is also great kindness in our society. So no, overall, I don’t agree with Lawrence’s view.

  5. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    > But where in hell (literally) is the church?

    I’ve sat in many a meeting where I’ve ask myself that question.

    If they are there, they are v-e-r-y quiet.

  6. Steve Newell says:

    We live in society that accepts violence as the normal. When one looks at the most popular movies and TV shows, they have violence as an underlying theme. We have play violent video games where we pretend to kill others with no moral or legal consequence. We pay more respect to those who go to war than those who work for peace. We no longer talk to each other but we what to dominate the other’s views. We reward the strong and punish the weak. I can go on.

    As Christians, we are not convicted by the Sermon on the Mount but if we vote the right way. We don’t honor Christian traits such as humility, patients, service to others.

    • Patriciamc says:

      Yes, the whole mass shooting problem stems from many sub-problems, one of which is our love of violence. Yet, if people speak out about it, many people in the evangelical church say that we’re trying to feminize society (as if it’s bad for society to reflect 51% of the human race). I know this because I’m a veteran of many a theological blog. So, yes, we need to address our blood lust, our mental health crisis, and our idolatry of guns (which is different from enjoyment. Idolatry is another sign of our extremist times).

      • “If a god is what you turn to when all else fails, violence certainly functions as a god,” observed Walter Wink. “What people overlook, then”, he continued, “is the religious character of violence. It demands from its devotees an absolute obedience-unto-death.” We worship violence because we fear it, and have fetishized these kinds of gun killings, as if a continuing supply of victims is necessary to sate the blood appetite of our gods.

  7. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    We are a fiercely independent and selfish people, who take umbrage at the smallest slight and put up our dukes whenever we think we’ve been dissed.

    HONOR, Arab Tribal Style.
    https://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/PSEUDOSC/TOXICVAL.HTM

  8. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    But where in hell (literally) is the church?

    1) Clutching their Rapture Boarding Passes and Looking Up For Their Redemption Draweth Nigh. “IT’S PROPHESIED! IT’S PROPHESIED!”

    2) Second Amendment Sundays from the pulpit with the preacher openly packing. “ZARDOZZZZZZ!”

    3) “I give Donald Trump praise and adoration.” (“WHO IS LIKE UNTO THE TRUMP? O COME LET US ADORE HIM!”)

  9. Just a minor aside. Berry said, “People do not become wealthy by treating one another or the world kindly and with respect.” I must take exception to that as a blanket statement. I know a fair number of people who would be considered wealthy. They have worked diligently over decades and have saved carefully, all the while giving generously. If he had qualified his statement by saying “Many people…” or even “Most people…” it would be much closer to reality but as an unqualified statement it is clearly inaccurate. No intention to distract from the main point but thought it should be noted that wealth and violence are not always and everywhere mated though they can often enough be found together.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > I must take exception to that as a blanket statement

      +100

      I enjoy some Berry; but he gets a bit agrarian-pastoral-hippie-good-simple-people-norman-rockwell for me. I usually get to a point with Berry when I want to raise my hand and say: “you should stop talking now, point made”.

      > No intention to distract from the main point

      I think Mr.Berry distracts from his main point when he goes there. If you want to bring people together, create a coalition, create conversation – you don’t bomb your own road by using what is, undeniably, classist rhetoric.

      You can be wealthy and brutal, and you can be poor and brutal.

      If you participate in the economy on any level – which is everyone – doing something like buying gasoline – you are a implicating yourself in a system of exploitation. Is the lady who owns the neighborhood butcher shop or the guy who owns the neighborhood barber shop [so: both wealthy] more-or-less implicated? It is a stupid question that distracts far more than it informs.

      This kind of thing derails, in real life, many an important conversation.

      • Living well is something that none of us is doing in a complete or perfect way. We are all complicit in the things that we oppose. That’s where it gets interesting. None of us are going to die free of sin. I think we are in Original Sin, round 2.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08njtjg

        A round-table discussion with Wendell Berry, Paul Kingsnorth (author of the forthcoming Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist), and economist Kate Raworth on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week hosted by Andrew Marr. The conversation, from this past May, centered around problems associated with the environmental movement, particularly issues of idealism without responsibility.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      Strongly agreed. Berry makes some good points, but he cannot escape his unrealistic idealism, and his own form of fundamentalism.

  10. Tired of being judged & assaulted says:

    You said, “Conservatives abhor the violence of abortion, but are deadly silent when it comes to the slaughter chronicled each day in the news.” Wow. What an incorrect stereotype. Some of a minority maybe but not most. This is the last site I expected to be judged, misjudged and insulted.
    I vote conservative because of how basic economics work. I carry a gun not because I can but because I’ve experienced home break-ins that left me with ptsd. And, oh surprise, I’ve had an abortion. Yet…
    I see the roots of violence and am heartbroken. Generations growing firmly believing they’re entitled to have everything they want when they want ti, and, who aren’t taught the life skills to cope with stress or disappointment.
    These are at the heart of violence. And the “opioid epidemic.”

    • Tired, I appreciate your post, but I don’t think I painted an incorrect stereotype. Think of the massive infrastructure, the amount of money and energy, and the large volume of rhetoric devoted to anti-abortion causes. I know of nothing comparable when it comes to peacemaking and anti-violence efforts. The black city churches are an exception. I haven’t seen it on the broader evangelical agenda.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        It’s Kyle’s Mom Activist Feel-Goodism with OUR coat of paint.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Agree.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        Fully agreed.Even among the run-of-the-mill Mennonites here in SK, the love of violence is palpable. Everyone that rejects outright violence is a “liberal snowflake”.
        With some notable exceptions the following equation holds:

        Evangelical = Conservative = Racist = Bloodthirsty.

        I forget how many times I have discovered that seemingly nice Christian people have a strong vein of racial tribalism when you get to know them better. And unfortunately, more and more Catholics are falling in the same trap. It is a simple reality. And the bloodthirsty part equates to killing all “bad people” (=merciless, mindless primitive “justice”), bombing everyone to perdition that they don’t like (the Cotton effect) etc.

        And I am NOT gloating or anything because I am an atheist. I find it incredibly sad.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says:

          BTW, I know what is reported about this young man’s dislike of religion etc. That is not the point. The point I believe Chaplain Mike is trying to make is about a violent culture.

      • Heather Angus says:

        “Think of the massive infrastructure, the amount of money and energy, and the large volume of rhetoric devoted to anti-abortion causes. I know of nothing comparable when it comes to peacemaking and anti-violence efforts.”

        Unfortunately, you could replace “anti-abortion causes” with “war,” in reference to our federal government, and it would be at least equally valid.

      • Tired etc says:

        Unfreaking believable. Do any of you who responded to this understand what you are saying to me and others? You are so far off base, so,biased and prejudiced. And not at all accurate.
        Would Jesus approve of your conversation to me here and the broader judgement of anyone who does not think exactly like you? Your comments sound like you would’ve supported the NY atty who said she didn’t feel sorry for the people shot at Las Vegas because they were probably all Republican gun toters
        The violence sickens me and most other conservatives. If you’re so against violence where was your compassion for me when I said my home was broken into –while I was home– so many times I almost couldn’t survive??
        Please examine yourselves because it’s starting to look here like if we who don’t agree with you deserve to be excluded, ignored, vilified and attacked…something I, and the majority of conservatives, would think unacceptable to do to,others.

        • “Your comments sound like you would’ve supported the NY atty who said she didn’t feel sorry for the people shot at Las Vegas because they were probably all Republican gun toters”

          Is it possible to criticize the general tendencies of conservatism/evangelicalism and yet not wish harm and destruction on those who hold to those beliefs? We think so. Nobody here has even hinted at such. If any criticism at all is to be taken as hatred… how can we talk about anything?

    • I notice that the “opiod epidemic” has only been declared a national emergency since larger numbers of white people have died as the result of it. When it was only people of color dying, for decades, it wasn’t deemed important enough to be labeled a national emergency. It seems it’s much the same with gun violence: as news coverage has become a 24/7 thing, and its cycle shorter and shorter, we see images of white folks caught up in gun violence, and all of a sudden it becomes a kind of undeclared national emergency; but the invisible violence on the streets of urban minority neighborhoods, where a disproportionate number of the killings occur, remains mostly invisible to the national consciousness.

  11. Pastor Roger says:

    The old testament is very violent. There is also violent imagery in the book of Revelation. How do we explain this in light of the shootings?

    • Well, that’s a conundrum isn’t it? Did God actually perpetrate or order and endorse the violence in the OT, especially acts like the extermination of the Canaanites? I’m of the mind that God did not. I have stated my reasons in other posts, and I take my ultimate cue from Jesus, who dismissed “eye for an eye” style justice and advocated peacemaking.

      As for Revelation, apocalyptic literature is always stark and over the top in portraying cosmic upheaval, the downfall of evil and the triumph of good. I don’t think anyone in his right mind would advocate that we apply apocalyptic themes literally. Except for the extreme dispensationalists.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I don’t think anyone in his right mind would advocate that we apply apocalyptic themes literally. Except for the extreme dispensationalists.

        “Christians for Nuclear War” attitude in the heyday of Hal Lindsay.

        And their heirs in the source I’m trying to track down about Christians who voted for Trump so he WOULD start WW3 and Jump-Start Armageddon. “History Written in Advance”, you know.

        Dispy has been one of the biggest disasters in American Christendom.(By their fruits shall you know them…) My writing partner credits Darby & Lindsay with destroying Protestant Christianity in America.

  12. Heather Angus says:

    Legally treating gun ownership the way we treat car and truck ownership would be a decent start.

    1. Every gun would be registered, the registration to be renewed every year.
    2. The prospective gun owner would pass a vision test, a one-time written test on gun safety, and a target shooting test. If he or she failed any of these, the gun purchase would be denied. (Maybe they could have a couple do-overs on the shooting test, as we do with driving tests.)
    3. The gun owner would carry a photo-ID shooting license, renewable every five years.

    It would be a start. And people like “Tired” would be free to own guns, while the application and testing process would stop a few deranged people, at least. (As John Hinckley, for instance, said it would have stopped him.)

    Nothing religious or spiritual or even emotional about this; I leave that to you and others here, Chaplain Mike. Your essay today expresses my feelings better than I can.

    • “Prove you are worthy of owning and carrying a gun.”

      Can we agree on this? I don’t know.

    • Patriciamc says:

      Amen Heather! After I closed out my parent’s apartment, I kept my father’s handgun, basically so I could shoot at the local range just for fun. I looked everywhere for his ownership papers so I could have the gun transferred into my name, because surely that’s what is done, right? The government wants to assign an owner to every gun so that in the event of a crime, they’ll at least have a place to start, right? Not in TN. I can have this gun in my possession without any paperwork, and that’s perfectly legal here. Mindboggling. Also, guns can now be carried into the TN legislature. Now that’s a recipe for disaster.

    • There’s that pesky Second Amendment, which many in our country hold to be absolute and unchangeable. Ownership of whatever kind of gun you want is thought to be a right by a large number of people in our society, and the Second Amendment provides them with plenty of ground on which to maintain their belief.

    • I like the analogy, but it doesn’t go far enough. Cars are devices primarily designed to transport people and cargo. Guns are devices primarily designed to deliver lethal force quickly over long distances. The standards should be appropriately more stringent.

      • Yeah, I’ve never liked the analogy. Guns are a tool, yes, but a tool intended to deliver a piece of metal toward another person’s body with the intent to puncture flesh and damage internal organs.

        Cars don’t have the same intrinsic intent.

  13. Burro [Mule] says:

    From the Archdruid:

    I grew up in Appalachia. For my people, the word “Gun” invokes the following image/feelings: Family; Nature; Dad; Childhood; Dinner; Safety; Home; Tradition. Hunting; Autumn; Beer; Independence. All at once, and not in any particular order, though all the images are related. The overall themes are safety (which includes the ability to provide dinner as well as the ability to protect oneself) and family (most boys learn hunting from their fathers, teach it to their sons, and share meals made from game animals with family and friends). Perhaps these could be reduced to a single, also word: Home. I cannot say with absolute certainty what images the word “Gun” invokes for people from other parts of the country, but here are my guesses. For middle class suburbanites: Fear; Pain; Death; School Shootings; Urban Muggings; Racists; Poor White People; Jesus. The overall theme is Terror. And I think that is both terror of actual gun violence, in the form of an individual robbery or murder or a mass shooting, AND terror of the other things that they associate with Americans who like guns; i.e. that they may limit abortions or gay marriage or pray in public.

    “Home” and “Terror” are extremely strong feelings. The result is that a politician who says the word “Gun” can expect to rouse the passions and stop the thoughts both of his followers and his opponents, who will then feed upon one another’s passions. In other words, it is simultaneously a vacuous belch and a vacuous shriek! The resulting feedback loop benefits the politician at least in the shortterm and shores up the support of his base, though he runs the risk of inspiring too much resistance in his opponents.

    I am reminded again and again of the Moral Calculus exercises that CM foisted on us a few months ago. Our political opinions are much “juicier” than they would be if they were founded strictly on reason. I am not a member of the NRA, but neither do I recoil when somebody has their decal in the rear window of a vehicle. I understand that the displayer is someone for whom the word ‘gun’ elicits the ‘Home’ constellation of connotations. Someone who has a gun control sticker on their rear window is someone who leans more to the ‘Terror’ side of the spectrum.

    And I think the good Archdruid is spot-on when he says “And I think that is both terror of actual gun violence, in the form of an individual robbery or murder or a mass shooting, AND terror of the other things that they associate with Americans who like guns; i.e. that they may limit abortions or gay marriage or pray in public.” I think that is a very reasonable fear. Those are all three things I wouldn’t hesitate to do if they were in my power to do so.

    • I grew up in the small town and suburban world that mostly fears, distrusts (or even despises guns). My wife is from a pacifist Mennonite background, and her family likewise disdains weapons. But I’m old enough to have lived among hunters and people who own firearms for protection, responsible people for whom guns represent the kinds of things you quote. So my visceral, instinctive response is to recoil from guns and to stay as far away as possible. But my reason and experience temper my judgment of others. Again, even though I am of the “no gun” tribe, I wish to live with my neighbor, understand him, and have a friendly conversational relationship about these things. This is the kind of attitude I don’t see at all in public discussions of this matter. Why? Because each side is not only tribal but tribalistic and has too much at stake in protecting their positions. They cannot admit even a sliver of the other side’s point of view without being cast out as traitors to the truth. This is political and relational violence, and I abhor it more than anything.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Because each side is not only tribal but tribalistic and has too much at stake in protecting their positions. They cannot admit even a sliver of the other side’s point of view without being cast out as traitors to the truth.

        Serbs and Croats in Yugoslavia.
        Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      And “Power comes out of the barrel of a gun.” — Chairman Mao

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      While I am not recoiling as much as CM, I am very, very far from the gun-nut culture,and I abhor the NRA in their current form. But while gun-obsession can be correlated to a violent culture – I mean, most of the shooters were pretty well stocked – I am completely mystified how you can come to the conclusion that

      “Someone who has a gun control sticker on their rear window is someone who leans more to the ‘Terror’ side of the spectrum.”

      There is nothing, nothing in any form that constitutes hard evidence for this, that I am aware of. Generally, the idea seems to spring from the myths the gun lobby creates, with zero substance.

      Unless you know something that the rest of us don’t?

      • Burro [Mule] says:

        Maybe not.

        Free association is always easier than critical thought.

      • Patriciamc says:

        I think the NRA is all about its own power and money, and is just using your rights to its own benefit. They’re master manipulators. Some of us don’t fall for it. Same with Planned Parenthood.

        • Christiane says:

          Once upon a time the NRA was a functioning respectable organization, but all that has changed profoundly.
          Now they advocate for the crazies, and about every wek or so, there is a price to pay in blood. I DO blame the NRA’s extremism. Absolutely!

  14. Ben Carmack says:

    “But where in hell (literally) is the church? Why shouldn’t we be in the front lines of peacemaking when it comes to actively promoting sane remedies for the violence in our communities? Don’t we owe love like this to one another and to our neighbors? Conservatives abhor the violence of abortion, but are deadly silent when it comes to the slaughter chronicled each day in the news. Progressives detest the oppression of and violence against marginalized people, but have used tactics in the culture wars that can only be described as tribal and warlike.”

    Where’s the church? Easy. They’re silent because if they were vocal, that would be “getting involved in politics” and “getting involved in the culture wars,” the very things this website exists to warn the church against. It isn’t Jesus shaped to be involved in the civic realm, remember?

    Look, you can’t have it both ways. Either Christianity affects everyday life or it doesn’t. Either you bring Jesus into your politics or you don’t. Pick one.

  15. Klasie Kraalogies says:

    Derek Thompson from The Atlantic offered these insights today:

    Mass shootings are often committed by lonely and unrooted men, suffering from both grandiose aspirations and petty grievances. The postmortem descriptors are practically rote: He was cold, weird, withdrawn, a loner (and, one must note, always “he”). It’s astonishingly rare to read the antonyms: He is almost never warm, welcoming, the most popular kid in school. Even when they are not, strictly speaking, terrorism, mass shootings still seem to adhere to a sort of dark and nearly invisible ideology of oppressive self-aggrandizement, a bid for greatness that requires the destruction of others. Just because there is no formal institution like ISIS to symbolize this strain of white rage doesn’t mean that the rage isn’t ideological. It’s possible that many instances of white male mass-shooting violence are, in fact, driven by a mass-media-inspired religion of grievance and greatness, a mass-distributed sickness for which male outcasts are most vulnerable to infection.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/11/americas-mass-shooting-epidemic-contagious/545078/?utm_source=atlfb

    • Burro [Mule] says:

      Blaming the victim?

      I don’t even want to go into the sexual aspects of this; we would never find our way back to sanity.

      There is an interesting graphic novel I read recently – “Y: The Last Man”, where all the male mammals over a certain size died in a plague, except for the protagonist and his pet monkey. Interestingly, the plague elevated Israel, with its abundance of militarily trained and capable women, to instant world-power status.

      The world was not visibly less violent, or less prone to resolving problems by violence.

  16. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Mass shootings are often committed by lonely and unrooted men, suffering from both grandiose aspirations and petty grievances.
    Same with mass stabbings in China.

    He was cold, weird, withdrawn, a loner (and, one must note, always “he”).

    I’m also described as a “weird, withdrawn loner”. You find a lot of them in various fandoms — SF lit, Gaming, Anime, Furry, (not so much) Brony. It’s like the Fandom (whatever it is) provides a connection and community and stabilizer for “weird, withdrawn loners”.

    It’s possible that many instances of white male mass-shooting violence are, in fact, driven by a mass-media-inspired religion of grievance and greatness, a mass-distributed sickness for which male outcasts are most vulnerable to infection.

    Sometimes (like Columbine) it’s a little more direct. A Do-It-Yourself Reality Show where the bigger the body count, the more Famous you get. Heady stuff for a nobody. Big enough body count and you’re on ALL the media and even the White House has to ring in. “DANCE, MONKEYS, DANCE!”

    • “You find a lot of them in various fandoms — SF lit, Gaming, Anime, Furry, (not so much) Brony. It’s like the Fandom (whatever it is) provides a connection and community and stabilizer for “weird, withdrawn loners”.”

      Funny thing, though… you almost never hear about such folks going postal. Weird as they are, these communities do provide *some* grounding in human relationships and reality.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Yeah. Fandoms have their own problems, but pulling a Columbine isn’t one of them. Neither is college binge drinking to alcohol poisoning.

        But to those outside the fandom, its “Beware Thou of the Mutant”.

  17. senecagriggs says:

    When mankind discovered the explosive power of gunpowder – the die was cast.

    In the U.S., there is thought to be a minimum of 300 million guns. That is troubling and also insoluble.
    ________

    A couple thoughts:
    Kurt Sclichter on people’s desire to start a “conversation” about guns.
    He says; Great, I’d like that. Here’s my opening statement. You are NOT taking away from guns. Now it’s your turn.”

    Finally a math problem for those in favor of gun control –

    If a criminal owns 5 guns and you outlaw 4 of them, how many guns will the criminal have left?

    ANSWER:

    FIVE, after all he’s a criminal

    • To Kurt Sclichter I have this to say: Don’t weep and wail to me the next time a mass shooting occurs, because you are unwilling to do anything pragmatic to reduce the body-count, which means this is the way you want it to be, and I’m tired to death of hearing the empty calls to prayer and repentance you’ve put in place action.

    • I take it this means that not only will Kurt not allow us to take his guns, he also intends to keep all his bump stocks.

    • Apartheid was considered unsolvable. The Troubles were considered unsolvable. Things CAN change – but they won’t if a large enough mass refuses to change.

  18. This has been a great discussion her at IM, but my emotions now rest in one place, despondency.

    I have written many times in blogs and other places about my eternal optimism. I observe the higher morals of younger generations, which gives me hope. I see a theological post-mil position, where the Church prevails in the end, giving me hope, bringing Christ’s peace and justice to the world. I have spoken for the solutions to our ills, including the mass killings.

    I think now, with two such horrible acts so close together, I have lost this hope. Like many of you, I am weary. I have lost this hope not because there are no solutions but in spite. The solutions are complex and multifaceted, but are real. But there is no will. This is what haunts me. There is no will because there is so much personal gain from the status quo.

    The philosopher gains. He/she, for the gain of moral freedom, projects an atheistic world described as a Marquis de Sade’s moral nihilism. Within that world, human life has no meaning except the meaning that you can give it through the act of the will. Saving babies from a famine in a foreign land gives meaning. Walking into a place of peace and killing as many babies, children, or adults, in the most violent way, also gives equal meaning. IT DOESN’T MATTER. Otherwise you will die and return to dirt as nothing. This is the prevailing worldview of our culture. They may not speak in philosophical terms, but they feel it.

    The parents have no will to raise their children better, because it means sacrificing their own wants. Stick them in front of a screen where their faces glow green and they drift into a semi-conscious state.

    The political left has no will because of the money that flows from the violent games and movies, which dehumanize people into targets and numbs the culpability of acting on violence.

    The gun merchants have no will, because of the constant flow of good money . . . from things like bump-stocks, assault rifles, and huge magazines. They have bought the right. They have bought the evangelical with strong emotional words like the “Second Amendment,” or “if you let them take away my automatic assault rife with armor piecing bullets in 500 round magazines, next the snowflakes will be coming from Grandma’s 22 pistol, which she keeps in her bedside table for protection.” No, these machines don’t do the violence. They only allow the deranged humans to inflict the highest possible damage in the shortest amount of time
    .
    The political left and the right, both, receive huge bundles of money from the health insurance companies, which prefer not to offer adequate mental health care, from anger management to pharmacological treatment for frank psychosis and anti-social behaviors. They save money by allowing these people to wander the streets, to be warehoused in prisons, or to repetitively beat up girlfriends in private. They have no will. They have too much to gain.

    There is no will to do anything. They will shoot dead the stranger on TV. They will shoot dead our neighbor’s relative. They will shoot dead the neighbor. The will shoot dead our own kids . . . and yet, there will be no will to do anything. Nothing at all. For that, tonight, I feel despondent.

  19. senecagriggs says: