I’m trying something different with my blog writing. I’m taking more of a “freestyle” approach to it and just writing as the words and ideas form without much prep or revision. This is a dangerous game, a quality control risk, but I wanted to test this approach out and see if it’s a more efficient way to blog. Sometimes I get weighed down by overthinking the pre-writing phase. That happens less of the time during the revision phase, but sometimes I can get stuck in trying to shape the perfect phrase, only to lay a textual turd across the line.
Speaking of getting stuck in something, here we go again with mass shootings and police brutality.
A new year but more of the same violence across the United States.
There have been 41 mass shootings in the U.S. since January 1st, which is more days than there are in the month, and there are still 3 days left to go. By the time I publish this, another one might have happened.
Here is what should be alarming data for other folks out there who call the U.S.A. their home.
I live in Southern California, and I grew up in Alhambra, one and a half miles away from where the Monterey Park mass shooting took place last weekend. I live and work near where the 2015 San Bernardino mass shooting took place.
There were two other mass shootings in this state this past week. 41 this month. There were 611 mass shootings in the United States in 2022 alone, according to Forbes. They claimed it was the second worst year for gun violence in ALMOST one decade. Not in U.S. history, but in the last 10 years. These things have more or less become an accepted part of society here. They are horrible, and they just happen so damn often, but how can we stop them from happening again? The Columbine High School mass shooting was supposed to be this watershed moment when we rallied behind some type of legitimate measures to prevent that type of carnage and horror from happening again, but we Americans have failed ourselves miserably.
Weapons, guns, and gun ownership have proliferated throughout our culture for decades to the point now where if there is a will to kill people, then there are many different ways you can go about it. Shooting people still seems to be the most desired way to do it, and it’s so easy to get your hands on a gun or make one that you would be a fool not to if you were sick enough to contemplate it. Current generations, dating all the way back to the “Greatest Generation,” the few of them we still have kicking around, we simply have to deal with mass shootings as part of our everyday American lives. It’s like COVID and the flu. Not as deadly, but so much more devastating.
Killers can be anyone.
Your elderly neighbor. Your coworker. Your child. Gun violence in the U.S. has hit every demographic and socio-economic category. They are everyday people who snap, who are so filled with hate that they want to destroy other people’s lives. Sometimes, they’re even cops.
I mentioned I live in Southern California, and if you’re savvy enough and know a couple of geographic references I made earlier, you might have figured out that I live in the Inland Empire. We’re about 60 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. In the first week of 2023, LAPD killed three people during encounters that seemed to show the suspects having a mental health crisis. That same week in Memphis, Tennessee, 5 police officers beat Tyre Nicholos to death during a traffic stop. They beat him even after he had been restrained and posed no threat to the officers’ lives, yet they still felt the need to pummel him unconscious. He died 3 days later in the hospital.
Police bodycam footage of this murder is to be released here soon, and city officials and community organizers across the U.S. are urging people not to respond with violence and destructions to their neighborhoods. However, the footage of Tyre’s has been described as “appalling” and “as, if not worse” than the footage of Rodney King being beaten by police. That quote comes from the Memphis Chief of Police. The 5 cops who did this to Tyre are Black, which is ironic in that they were no doubt recruited because they represented members of the community that they swore to protect and serve.
There’s so much shit wrong with this situation, and there’s so much wrong with our society.
Compassion is the cure.
But not enough of us want to hear that shit let alone put it into practice. Many of the societal issues we have here in the U.S. are because we treat each other like trash. We are trash for that. We scream at each other if our latte comes out with regular milk instead of almond; we berate each other for being any kind of different from the “norm” when in fact norms shift and change any and always, and by the way, your ass isn’t living forever, so who gives a shit if the normal you’ve been accustomed to shifts again. Being politically “liberal” used to mean something completely different than it does today, but should I go scream at a non-binary identifying human because I don’t want to call them by their preferred pronouns, or should I not be bothered by something that really doesn’t affect my life that much except in matters of politeness?
We should just be nicer to each other because life is too short to fight it all away.
Get off your soapbox.
Fair enough. Let’s hope for a better February.