I was in a waiting room when I first heard the news. Yet another mass slaying had occurred. This time, fourteen were dead.
As the wall-mounted TV relayed the details, the faces of the half-dozen people within remained unconcerned as they sat absorbed by their smart phones.
“Wait, this isn't about me? OK.”
There was a disconnect from the people in Southern California, because they were in one place and we in another and it had happened to them and not to us.
Is this what the insularity of technology and social media hath wrought?
As the electronic media rehashed their facts over and over and over, I wondered what role they played in our emotional distancing. Like Aesop's boy who cried wolf, our media has certainly confirmed how quickly we can become calloused.
I become enraged when confronted with the specter of innocent people being pierced by metal projectiles fired by a stranger dozens or even hundreds of feet away. Especially when they are guilty only of existing.
I rage at the shooter, I rage at the NRA, I rage at the politicians who endorse this in exchange for campaign financing, and out of cowardice.
Instead of endlessly reciting stale facts, why doesn't our media contact Wayne LaPierre for his thoughts on the carnage?
“Mr. LaPierre, as CEO and Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, a special interest group which has tirelessly and unswervingly dedicated itself to the saturation of our country with all manner of guns and assault weapons, what—if anything—do you feel your connection to the events of this afternoon is?”
“Contrast for our viewers how much money the NRA spends promoting gun safety, which is ostensibly the NRA's reason for being, versus what it spends combating gun control legislation and the closing of big, fat loopholes which enable gun ownership?”
“Is this evidence of a country with far too many guns far too easily accessed, or as you have remarked in the past, a security problem? Which we hasten to point out in your definition means too many people with not enough guns.”
“Finally Mr. LaPierre, what would you tell the families of today's shooting victims? Their parents? Their spouses? Their children? Their siblings?”
This, of course, is fantasy. LaPierre would no more agree to appear than our corporate media would think of calling him.
I dream of handing out Thank You NRA! t-shirts in the wake of such events, if only to provoke new conversation. A different stream of thought.
Again I fantasize.
I ponder the inveterate sadness of our mass shooting statistics, and look at the confines of the waiting room. I wonder if it isn't a whole lot larger than I'm aware of.