Thursday, June 11, 2009
Holocaust Museum Shooting: How Easy is it to Kill in America?
A few months ago I wrote about the troubling trend of racially motivated violence in US cities and what I feared was the unraveling of our humanity. In the wake of an abortion doctor's murder followed by the murder of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Museum by a white supremacist, my argument - that we're losing our humanity - holds true.
So I wonder, how easy is it to kill in America? From the legality of obtaining a firearm to the societal factors that make shootings in schools, museums, malls and churches a common occurrence on the evening news - have we gone from being a nation that suffers occasional random violence, to, I don't know, Iraq? And to what extent is our decency and humanity compromised when we examine these issues through the prism of our political beliefs?
Regardless of your political leanings the fact remains that in the U.S. the phenomenon of random gun violence happens more often than in other developed nations. We have every which excuse to explain these acts but no one is any less dead for all of our conjecture: the assailant was crazy, the assailant was a Nazi, the assailant couldn't speak English, etc. So I'm still right: we're a nation of murderers.
Or are we not? This is, first, an issue of gun control - forget the Second Amendment and the public's so-called "right" to bear arms. This is also an issue about our values; as the American public continues to mire itself in divisive, incendiary political debate that ultimately demonizes people who hold different beliefs from ours, we set the stage for bloodshed. Does this sound like a huge leap? I don't think so. I think Americans have been stirred into a tizzy, overloaded with information, caffeine and entitlement - we've become murderers, predators and all sorts of crazy. And I wonder, what's next?