Horatio

Horatio
[Photo by Jacquelyn Griffin)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Only Engine of Survival



Leonard Cohen's darkest song, "The Future." gives us a stark warning:
You don't know me from the wind
you never will, you never did
I'm the little jew
who wrote the Bible
I've seen the nations rise and fall
I've heard their stories, heard them all
but love's the only engine of survival
Your servant here, he has been told
to say it clear, to say it cold:
It's over, it ain't going
any further
And now the wheels of heaven stop
you feel the devil's riding crop
Get ready for the future:
it is murder.
Things like today's shooting in San Bernadino,make you suspect that Cohen's vision was prophetic:
Multiple assailants terrorized this city Wednesday, killing at least 14 people and wounding at least 17 at a center for the disabled and leading the police on a manhunt culminating in a shootout in a residential neighborhood that left two suspects dead and a possible third in custody.

Panic, chaos and rumor gripped this largely working-class community about 60 miles east of Los Angeles as the attackers carried out the nation’s worst mass shooting since the assault on an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., nearly three years ago.The shooting began around 11 a.m. at the Inland Regional Center inside a building that was being used by the county health department for a holiday party as others cowered and hid in the building, sending out texts. Chief Jarrod Burguan of the San Bernardino police said that most of the victims were found in one part of that building. He said the attackers also left an object that “is believed to be potentially an explosive device.”
Of course, we're still processing the Colorado Springs Planned parenthood shootings, which happened--when was it?--oh, yes--last week, right around the time of the Oregon shooting (remember that one?)

Note that I say we are "processing" this terrible events. Not "reeling from" or "in shock from" like we genuinely were in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting. We're not in shock any more. This is the new normal.

Don't believe me? Well, read for yourself:
More than one a day.

That is how often, on average, shootings that left four or more people injured or dead occurred in the United States this year, according to compilations of episodes derived from news reports.

Including the worst mass shooting of the year, which unfolded horrifically on Wednesday in San Bernardino, Calif., a total of 462 people have died and 1,314 have been injured in such shootings this year, many of which occurred on streets or in public settings, the databases indicate.

***

Two databases that track mass shootings that leave four or more dead or injured — shootingtracker.com and gunviolencearchive.org — depend on news accounts and are not official. Nonetheless, they give an indication of the widespread nature of such episodes. Since January, there have been at least 354 such cases in about 220 cities in 47 states, shootings, according to shootingtracker.com.
That's more mass shootings than there have been days thus far in 2015.

Our national response has consisted of finger-pointing, gridlock, and complete inaction. Oh, and rise of the Open Carry Movement, which "seeks to normalize the carrying of firearms in public places."

We the People, in sum, do not care.

You want a Culture of Death? Look around you; it's here. This is what it truly looks like--when another massacre loses the power to shock, and so "The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity".


Our politics are not up to the task--I admire President Obama's effort to stir up action--but we are torpid as a people.

This will continue as long as we let it. We have to choose that only engine of survival--love--and not give in to passivity, to the hopeless monotonous recitation of dreadful news now grown familiar and even boring. As a friend of mien who died last week was fond of saying, "Love is the Answer."

And we'd better choose to love our neighbors more than we love our guns, our status quo, our causes--whatever it is, even if it is good in itself, that we make an idol that can then instruct us to kill our neighbor.

Because if we don't, I've seen the future--it is murder.

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