Another of the eighteen school shootings this year in Parkland Florida yesterday bloodied the bodies of students, the halls of a mega-high school, and dealt another blow to the kind of hope and promise the United States has trumpeted for centuries. And while all the rhetoric coming from public officials decries all violence, and acknowledges that the weapon of choice for mass murderers is the AR-15, a semi-automatic killing machine, and a vast majority of American voters favour gun control and want these slaughters of the innocents to cease, there seems to be no general recognition and acknowledgement of the depth of violence that has embedded itself, like black India ink into a national blotter, into the very fabric of the United States culture.
It is not only that such massacres do not happen in other countries to this degree; nor that terrorists are not planning and strategizing this minute to wreak havoc wherever and whenever they can in cities around the world, including American cities; nor that street killings in American cities, like Chicago and until recently Baltimore, are not an epidemic.
It is the obvious fact that human lives including those of factory and restaurant and hotel and hospital and school workers are “at the bottom of the food chain” in the political hierarchy….
· while the political power brokers “sleep” with the drug companies in what in Canada we call a “family compact” (another word for oligarchy), and
· the tax plan tilts the ordinary American playing field so far in favour of the rich, and brokenness and hopelessness lurk like stray cats in the alleys of most cities at night, looking for the next “pain-killer” drug, (most of them researched and marketed by “white collar” scientists and their huckster marketers,
· and street gangs traffic in illicit deals to feed their own insatiable addiction
· and the health care and social safety nets are wantonly shredded in an act of collective prejudice
· and the arms industry is injected with billions of dollars of steroids
· and the public schools are handed over to the private sector benefactors of those same political vultures
· and millions of undocumented immigrants are pushed to the brink of sanity with threats of deportation
· and millions more in primarily black voting districts are gerrymandered out of the franchise
· and the video game industry pumps out highly sophisticated and seductive images of violence to poison young minds and line their own pockets, stretching freedom of speech to the breaking point
· and consequences have replaced intent in the public opinion courtrooms, as instant gratification reaches far beyond anything previously conceived
· and formerly sober and mature and moderate voices have gone mute in the face of the onslaught on the constitution and the proud traditions and heritage of the former “beacon on a hill” to the world’s hopeless
· and the mental health system (literally a mere skeleton of anything worth the name) demonstrates the collective denial that such a need even exists in “our” country
· and jails and police are assigned the custody and “treatment” of disturbed individuals who are then used as poster-children for the massacres, by those seeking a gun-toting society as their “security” against such madness
· and today hands are wringing, voices are pleading and bereaved parents, teachers, administrators and fellow students are weeping for their lost friends and relatives….
And yet, in the face of this brutal and seeming growing avalanche of killings, there is no hope for new attitudes and new perspectives and new summoning of the political will to make the changes to attitudes, and to language and to world views and to even a semblance of modesty, moderation, tolerance and even submission to the deep and undeniable truth that America is in the act of a rolling and collective national suicide. Just as the signs of trouble were evident for years in the life of the accused in the Parkland Florida massacre, (as they were in most of the previous mass murders), and were either ignored or dismissed out of hand, (without a competent and professional national treatment agenda), so too the signs of deep and intractable “trouble” are evident everywhere in the nation for anyone willing to look and admit and then take responsible action.
In the therapy business, we would call this “parallel process” and there is little hope that the nation will begin to see itself as epitomized by such “troubled souls” whose interventions were needed long ago. Remember Pogo’s “We have met the enemy and it is us” insight.
Look in the mirror, America!
Take stock of how your current president seduced enough of your voters and how your future, while threatened by outside actors like Russia, is in your own hands, as the future of this accused was long ago taken from his hands….until yesterday when he “took it back”!
Look at the mess that profit, money, status, power, stardom and unleashed and unfettered “freedom” has wrought; sit quietly in a dark room in reflection not only on how this national chaos began and continues, but also on what each of you can “DO” to begin to take responsibility for the wanton destruction of human lives, not only yesterday but everyday right under your eyes. It does not take a rocket scientist to connect the dots. They are written on tombstones, in headlines, in obituaries, and in presidential signatures on executive orders.
The world is watching the latest episode of what can be legitimately diagnosed as an act of national Thanatos….the urge and impetus for death…..
And you cannot say there were no signs!
You may be able to convict this accused, and even sentence him to the death penalty….who will intervene and begin the long process of coping with the long-standing nation’s “troubles” that are just as lethal and out of control as this man’s….and there is also a clear causal link to his act and the nation’s failure to act.