Every day, we live comfortably with the notion that we are safe and secure. We don't think of violence as a way of life, but simply something on television programs and in the news. That notion is pure fantasy.
America has a domestic violence problem. Every single day, hundreds of thousands of people across the country endure physical abuse in their own homes. Police respond to literally hundreds of thousands of calls daily. Experts suggest many more calls are never made.
Public schools have become social playgrounds. Children are literally forced to find a specific group into which they will be accepted and feel comfortable. There is often animosity between those groups that intentionally or unwittingly ends in episodes of violence. Every day, countless violent episodes erupt on elementary, junior high and high school campuses nationwide.
Each day in this country, many young girls and women choose to go to abortion clinics to have their unborn fetuses ripped from their bodies. Whether or not you agree with that "choice," you must admit the experience itself is one of violence and trauma. But it is acceptable violence, and the resulting death is considered acceptable.
So, understanding that millions, perhaps billions, of violent episodes occur regularly and voluntarily through a combination of abortion, school violence and domestic violence across America each year, why are we surprised when it erupts in the streets? Are we so naive to believe we can accept a daily undercurrent of violence with no further escalating consequences?
The sun shines because of billions of tiny explosions are occurring on it all the time. We never think about that. But when there is a major explosion like a solar flare that interrupts our activities for a moment, we stand in wonder. The same is true of the pervasive violence erupting constantly throughout America. We only notice when the media sensationalizes it.
Now, increasingly, even the media does not capture our attention for long. A mother recently murdered her children and then turned the gun on herself here in my hometown of San Diego County, California. America isn't outraged. Most people didn't even know about it. A father bludgeoned his family to death in Atlanta, but the crime was only sensationalized when he used a gun to go after even more people. Many of us have probably forgotten all about this event.
The problem is not guns. The problem is not some loony-toon who decides at the spur of the moment to murder everyone around him. The problem is not mothers killing their children. These are just symptoms.
The real problem is that we, as a society, have accepted a lower level of violence as normal. We treat it casually, even expecting it from our children. Too many women accept that lower level of violence from their husbands and boyfriends. And, while we allow this acceptable level of violence in our society, we routinely thwart, ignore and even express an outright disdain for authority. We never think the violence we accept as normal will someday escalate and affect different people in totally unpredictable and uncontrollable ways.
We reject those who suggest there ought to be punishment and consequences for actions. We call those people insensitive for wanting to enforce their morals upon everyone else. We, as a society, want to reduce or eliminate consequences and call it compassion.
Still, there is an underlying foundation of violence within our country. We accept it as normal. Abortions, schoolyard fights, violence in the home... all normal. Gang shootings, terror and turf wars are acceptable. We see hundreds of thousands of missing kids, but don't feel the urge to get involved as long as it's not my kid. We don't have time to find a solution. People are robbed. Homes are burglarized. Property is stolen. All these daily occurrences are quite acceptable to a majority of us.
Most of us are far too busy earning a living and playing power games to care much about the little things that occur in society. And it is the underlying foundation of pervasive violence in this society that perpetuates the sensationalized eruptions we see on television and read about in the news. But this is something none of us wish to address.
But then some nut decides to open fire in broad daylight, killing anyone and everyone he can. He cares nothing for his own life, and probably hopes to die in the experience. This we call insane.
No. We are insane for living within the asylum and marveling at the insanity that erupts.
But then again... who cares?
Let's just talk about gun control.
(Mike Green is an associate of Project 21 and the president of the Committee
to Restore America Foundation in San Diego, California.)
Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.
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