Let’s start by getting the stipulations on the table. One – mass shootings in schools, and generally, are a clear indication that something is wrong in our nation – very wrong. Two – there may be, though I cannot really think of one right now, a gun control measure or two that might prevent one or two of these shootings, but guns are not “the cause” and controlling guns will not stop them from happening. Three – these shootings are not acts of terror, they are acts of self-expression of some sort; sick perverted and twisted self-expression, but it is undeniable that the shooter is trying to say something.
I originally thought yesterday’s rallies/marches/protests, whatever they were, were a good idea simply because they provided a large scale cathartic opportunity. These shootings are horrifying and traumatizing. People need to work through the emotional turmoil that they experience in the wake of news like this. There is a long history of peaceful, lawful gatherings in our nation for just such purposes. While I thought and think the gun control agenda of the event lacked useful suggestions, the event itself seemed worthwhile simply because it offered a positive opportunity for people deeply affected by the shootings to work through some of their emotional stuff related to it.
Then this morning, and just this morning, as I was reading the coverage of the event I learned the official title of it – “March for Our Lives” – and all my positive thoughts about the event vanished in an instant. No, I am not just upset because of the obvious play on the annual “March for Life” anti-abortion event. I am upset because of the narcissistic nature of the title taken on its own terms.
As I opened with, the shootings are an indication of something quite askew in our culture. The question that we need to be asking is “What are we doing to produce this string of individuals that think mass murder is a reasonable means of self-expression?” But that title implies that the formation of such individuals is an inevitability and the important question is “How do I protect myself from them?” I don’t deny that we need to protect ourselves from people that intend to harm us, but you do not hold massive nationwide events for that. You hold massive nationwide events to change the nation and you do not change the nation for your own personal need – you change the nation for the greater good of the nation.
With a title like that the event perpetuates the problem and does noting to solve it. The shooters are all, in some fashion, self-absorbed. All that event title does is demonstrate that the anti-shooting protesters are just as self-absorbed as the shooters – they are simply smart enough not to express their self-absorption with murder.
At least I know there is one thing positive I can do today about this entire mess – pray.