Life’s become cheap … humans keep bashing each other in ever more creative ways … searing the land and spattering it with blood. An addled and anesthetized numbness is spreading rapidly throughout our species….
There are those, however, who are not frightened of grief; dropping deep into the sorrow, they find therein a necessary elixir to the numbness. When they encounter one another, when they press their foreheads against the bark of a centuries-old tree, or their palms into the hand of yet another child who has tasted prematurely of wrenching loss, their eyes well with tears that fall easily to the ground. The soil needs this water….
Grief is but a gate, and our tears a kind of key opening a place of wonder that’s been locked away. Suddenly we notice the sustaining resonance between the drumming heart within our chest and the pulse rising from under the ground….
Mass shootings have become routine in the United States and speak to a society that lives by violence while relying on it as a tool to feed the coffers of the merchants of death. Violence runs through American society like an electric current….
At a policy level, violence drives a gargantuan arms industry and a militaristic foreign policy, and is increasingly the punishing state’s major tool to enforce its hyped-up brand of domestic terrorism, especially against immigrants and people of color. The United States is utterly wedded to a neoliberal culture in which cruelty is viewed as a virtue, while mass incarceration is treated as the default welfare program and chief mechanism to “institutionalize obedience.” At the same time, dog-eat-dog competition replaces any notion of solidarity, and a transcendental sense of self-interest pushes society into the abyss of depoliticization and mindless consumerism.
All of these forces coalesce in new modes of authoritarianism that re-order a society saturated in state violence, daily gun massacres, racism, fear, militarism, bigotry, and massive inequities in wealth and power.
In the coverage of this weekend’s massacres in El Paso, Texas or Dayton, Ohio (or any of the dozens that preceded them), you have likely heard someone express shock that such tragedies came to their communities … but “it can’t happen here” has been far from true for many years now. Here’s a list of a few organizations I’m familiar with that research the relentless violence so common in America today and try to influence gun control policy. Regardless of your personal or political views on gun control, each of these organizations can help you make informed choices and express informed opinions.