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Pulling At The Fringes: America's Shadow Of Violence


The real problem in America isn't guns, per se, it is violence.

Another month, another mass shooting in the United States. And now, to add insult to injury, we must endure months of debate in the public and political spheres, gussied up with the usual affectation of moral outrage. The discussion will filter down through all forms of media, through all strata of society. And despite all the feigned passion, money spent, and promises made, nothing will substantively change. Arguments will go round and round like a dog chasing its tail until the dog eventually tires and the reasons the dog was chasing its tail in the first place subside and recede into the banks of lost and silent memory.

The reason that nothing will change is because, as with most talking points in this country, people will really only touch on the symptoms of a problem and not the root of the problem. In this case, the issues of gun control, gun ownership and the Second Amendment will be trotted out for a good run around the park. But the real problem in America isn't guns, per se, it is violence. How the violence is done should be secondary but it's easier to harp on the how. Arguing about guns is easier, but it isn't the real issue. No one wants to talk about the real issue, though, because they're afraid the trail will lead them to their own doorstep.

Violence surrounds us like a shroud. It's in everything. Its seeps through the television programs, the commercials, the sports, the movies, the video games, popular music, billboards, magazines, the Internet, the computer. And if not in action, the threat of violence is all around. It's in the schools, the shopping malls, the movie theaters, it's next door, it's stopped at the traffic light, it's in line to get coffee.

This country was founded on violence. The settlers arrived and violently dispatched of the natives. Then the colonists broke away from the mother country through violent revolution. Black people were brought by force from Africa and enslaved on plantations. The nation itself split and had a civil war, with its own citizens fighting each other. In order to further its own economic development, the government has gone around the world invading and attacking countries. At this very moment, the United States military is using remote-controlled aircraft to bomb people thousands of miles from here without feeling the least bit necessary to offer up even the scantest proof or rationalization.

Violence is seen as a freedom, a right, and a solution. If someone enters my house without permission, just shoot 'em. If someone opens my car without permission, just shoot 'em. If someone tries to take my money or possessions, just shoot 'em. If someone touches my friends or family, just shoot 'em. If the Muslims come over here and try to convert our nation, just shoot 'em. If the gays try to enlist my child in their ranks, just shoot 'em. If some deviant drug user wants to debase theirself and trash our society, just shoot 'em. If those people try to come over here, just shoot 'em. If a bunch of dirty hippies want to protest about inequality or unfair business practices, just shoot 'em. If some duplicitous barrista tries to cheat me by putting too much foam on my latte, just shoot 'em.

And all those savage people over there, the ones who are plotting horrible deeds, the ones who live in filth and chaos, where the shadow of violence hangs over their nation like a petulant storm cloud...just shoot them.

We don't seem to realize that the people we're pointing our fingers at, the ones we're shaking our fists at in anger, the ones we have in our sights, are merely reflections of ourselves. We will never escape our own shadow.

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