There were two mass shootings in America within 24 hours, one in El Paso, Texas, yesterday and one in Dayton, OH, in the wee hours of the morning today.
Yesterday, when the El Paso story broke, I was watching a stupid sci-fi movie, Idiocracy, which one of my sons insisted I would love (I didn’t). In that movie, set hundreds of years into the future, America’s gene pool and culture had declined dramatically, where the English language had eroded into gibberish and mindless slogans, education had been demonized and the American system had descended into chaos, and corruption, with a WWF type star running the country.
A male and female from the present were frozen in a top secret military experiment, where they were supposed to be awakened in the near future, but they ended up being frozen for several hundred years. When these two average people awakened they found themselves,literally, the smartest people in the world. The man had been a dud in the Army, who did nothing to distinguish himself as a soldier, while the woman had been a prostitute, who was conned into being a part of the experiment.
The movie Idiocracy was made in 2006 and here we are in 2019 with a WWF type star as president and most days the mindless spin word games leave me wondering what the heck happened to America.
In 2019 America, the media news cycles are largely driven by the blue checkmark crowd of political and thought leaders who drive the media spin cycles on Twitter. President Trump also uses his Twitter account to drive spin cycles. We live, not in an Idiocracy, but a Twitterocracy. News Media people and politicos on Twitter drive the other American news formats, especially the cable TV spin cycles.
Today’s reporting has been a mix of law enforcement reporting updates, reports on the victims, pundits and politicians assigning blame for the shootings (well beyond the two shooters) and as can always be expected massive politicization, before the bodies of the murder victims are even cold. It’s a rather ghoulish national media and political spectacle.
At the end of the day, it appears the El Paso shooter was motivated by white nationalist sentiments and the Dayton. OH shooter was an Elizabeth Warren supporter, Satanist and anti-gun violence advocate (try making sense of that, if you can). My personal opinion is what likely motivates these killers is probably a complex combination of factors, like mental illness, erosion of family, decay of civic culture, social alienation, violent culture, malign online groups that fuel hate. Of course, America’s 24/7 scorched earth spin war, which the media avidly aids and abets, certainly probably could be a contributing factor too.
My point is, it’s doubtful we can pinpoint one specific cause, even though many people want some specific cause, that they can fixate on as the source of the evil, because it’s much easier to believe that, “if we only got rid of that cause, that would fix the problem”. For many on the Left, Trump is the cause and removing Trump from office is the solution. For many others on the Left, the cause is guns and more gun laws will fix the problem.
I’ve never owned a firearm in my life and never want to own one. I understand the strong views of people on both sides of the 2nd Amendment debates and constant battles over gun laws. That said, sure there might be some more gun laws that might keep guns out of mass shooters hands, but at this point enough details aren’t known about these two mass shooting incidents to have a calm debate about whether the law the Democrats are hyping today would have had any impact on either of these two shootings.
The reality that the “causes” are complex and there isn’t some magical, easy-fix political solution to end these mass shootings, particularly those carried out by white nationalists, who are reported to be using online forums to radicalize and spread their racist ideology, ramp up racial fear and incite rage, doesn’t sit well with many Americans. People like believing there are political solutions to slaying violent ideologies (see all the true-believers that American military might could destroy radical Islamist ideology).
This is just my opinion, but positive cultural changes in America begin in the hearts of good citizens, good neighbors, and strong families. We can all work toward that end, in our own small ways. Each tiny effort can begin the change. Of course, having strong leaders in America, from all walks of life, working to spread calm and positive messages, instead of turning everything in America into a vicious political battle, would help a great deal too, but judging from most of the Twitterocracy thought leaders, and partisan political peeps, I wouldn’t hold my breath on that happening.
And here we come to President Trump and his endless ginning up anger and flirting with white nationalists in his rhetoric. While I don’t believe it’s fair or productive to run around calling him a racist or white nationalist, he has never come out and tried to distance himself from white supremacist or denounced their hate-filled ideology. As the person holding the biggest megaphone in America, it’s way past time for him to strongly denounce white nationalism and white supremacy ideology.
The best thing the news media could do for America is abandon their cozy spin nest on Twitter and get back to reporting who, what, when, when, why and how, instead of being major players in the partisan spin wars, which churns out of the Twitterocracy every day in America. Yes, even Trump knows Twitter drives the American news cycles in America and propels the Left’s spin narratives, which is why he clings to his personal Twitter account.
And the best thing each of us average citizens can do is try to take care of our families, our friends, our communities and pray that each small drop of kindness adds up to large enough waves to begin changing the tide in our country.
Finding hope amidst the carnage won’t be easy, but we could each resolve to spread some kind words and work to do some good deeds… that’s a start.