The Tipping Point

15 Dec

Here is a tragic irony. On Wednesday, in response to the Oregon mall shooting, I posted on my FB page: “Seriously. When will the gun violence in this country abate? I know humans pull the triggers but still. Assault weapons? Seriously. We should be ashamed. I am. Life is not a &*^% Hollywood action film.” Two days later, news breaks out that a gunman opened fire in a Connecticut school massacring twenty-seven people, twenty of whom where children under the age of ten.

As someone who has invested well over twenty years of my personal and professional life to exploring the ramifications of trauma, I know a thing or two about the subject. And trauma is indeed personal and political. It makes no difference whether we’re talking about war, sexual abuse, rape, gun violence, human trafficking, or even natural disasters. The underlying causes and/or responses to events, whether on the individual or collective level, are deeply intertwined.

It has taken a long time for the public to become outraged over gun violence. But perhaps we’re at a tipping point. I certainly hope so. Because ultimately we collude with violence when we sit back passively wringing our hands saying, “People will always be evil.”

As commentary started flying yesterday, a faction on the internet condescendingly rebuked those expressing feelings about the event because – well, shit happens everyday. “Why be so upset over this but not give a fuck about other injustices happening all around the world?” I also saw patronizing statements in response to posts about gun control. “Today is not the day. We need to respect the victims and allow them to grieve. It’s not time to push your political agenda. Show more tact and sensitivity.” I noticed cool disdain towards those expressing righteous indignation, which of course was labeled as “reactive, emotional and not based in reason.” So tell me, is there anything reasonable about trauma – whatever the horror – be it a shooting or otherwise? Trauma does evoke an emotional response even if that response is numbness. It is after all – TRAUMA. Finally, there were the comments inferring that gun violence only occurs at the hands of those mentally ill. But here’s a little factoid folks. Statistically, people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of crimes vs. perpetrators of ones.

I know that gun control alone will not prevent random (or not so random) acts of violence. There are complex sociological issues at play that need to be addressed just as fervently as gun control. I also know that humans pull the triggers. That guns themselves don’t spontaneously ejaculate.

But people, let’s stop making excuses for our moral laziness. All movements for the well being of society require courage, action, intelligence, legislation, and a deep commitment to a higher vision for all.

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