The Elephant In The Room
Everybody knows, the just ain't saying
No one is talking about the elephant in the room. Yesterday, another mass shooting. It’s becoming so common that it doesn’t even phase most of us anymore. Half of the country has normalized it, and the other half is appalled by it.
We spend millions of dollars each year. Who knows how much labor on research and how many hours scouring databases is trying to figure out the problem — trying to understand what would cause a person to do something so terrible.
There have always been a lot of guns in America. When I was a boy scout, I subscribed to a magazine called Boys Life, and I remember the advertising for .38 caliber pistols for $1.75. it was a time when kids would take rifles to school for shooting practice or attend a gun safety class conducted by some NRA instructor. We had all of those guns back then too. Yes, even semi-automatic ones. Until the NFA act passed, a person could buy a fully functional surplus machine gun from magazines. So what changed? Our culture did. But who’s changing it?
Usually, people with a gun control plan point out that the problem is the tool. They rarely mention things like the fact that the most significant percentage of gun violence is suicide or that violence also happens with other devices, such as knives and hammers. Or resort to trying to spread fear by calling everything a “weapon of war” and purposely leaving out data that proves violent crime usually ends with a legally armed citizen. All this creative manipulation of facts doesn’t help anyone because it creates a knee-jerk reaction to selectively picked data perpetuating an ideology that is neither truthful nor factual. This manipulation of facts creates distrust. Enter the pro-Second Amendment folks.
The other side replies by swinging the pendulum completely to the other end of the swing. Again, this is a reaction to the disingenuous use of data. Much like the special interest group, AARP, which represents retiring folks by providing services and helping to legislate on their behalf, the NRA serves the same purpose for gun owners. That is their focus. Admittedly, many of its members have become almost fanatical in recent years and have shown an offensive side. Their unquestionable support of law enforcement and defense of Kyle Rittenhouse is telling, considering how quiet they became when Philando Castile, a legal and permitted African-American gun owner, was murdered during a traffic stop in front of his fiance and child.
The NRA has been called racist due to this and many other instances when African-American gun owners could have used the support of the NRA. The Philando Castile case was a missed opportunity for the NRA to right that wrong and show the world that they support and protect the rights of all Americans.
These two groups, the Left and Right, are the Yin and Yang of the gun control issue. But nothing is purely black or white.
There are liberals like myself, staunch supporters of the Second Amendment. We want people to enjoy universal health care, a free education, affordable housing, a future beyond the environmental disaster that awaits us if we do not act, etc. There are conservatives for whom the Second Amendment isn’t as important as some of the issues I just mentioned. But here is the irony:
No one is talking to us. Both Second Amendment-loving liberals and socially responsible conservatives know the answer to the problem. But no one cares what we have to say because we don’t represent the extremes — the either or. We are more subtle, and our answer to creating a country where everyone fits in is more nuanced.
Politicians usually look for the quickest resolution to an issue. Gun control is the equivalent of taking a kid’s Xbox away because he won’t do the dishes. You can take away his Xbox, and he still isn’t going to do the chores because the Xbox is not the problem. The kid will figure out another way to avoid his tasks.
Mental health has become the scapegoat for the violence problem in our culture. I mean, who but somebody who is mentally unwell would walk into a place full of unarmed, innocent people and open fire with the intent to kill as many people as possible? Surely they must be crazy. It’s not as illogical as it sounds.
But how did they get insane? What pushed them over the edge? Many kids are bullied, beaten up in school, and never become shooters. My father was cold, distant, and rarely hugged me, yet I have no desire to hurt anyone with a gun or anything else. So what causes people to do this?
I have already made everyone reading this angry, so I might as well continue.
Whether it involves a minor or an adult, a mass shooting is, in reality, suicide with a great big “fuck you” attached to it. These folks are at the end of the rope, they are angry, and they’ve had enough. But they’re going to take as many people with them as possible. The people that they feel responsible for their angst.
Are they insane or mentally unhealthy? Perhaps. But their actions aren’t only fueled by desperation. They harbor hatred and anger. And they want everyone to know they are pissed. The problem is violence.
An up-and-coming generation of kids doesn’t see any future outside of wage slavery and perpetual debt. They will never own a home, and the American dream looks more like a nightmare to them. Many are angry, disillusioned, and looking for someone to blame.
When I consider the tremendous amount of research done on violence, the numerous books that have been written on mass shooters, and how many ineffectual laws have been made to address the issue, it blows my mind that people don’t see the elephant in the room.
Do you want to know why there are mass shootings? If we’re going to ask about mental health, medications, and childhood history, we should also ask about political affiliation. Also, ask what they watch on tv. Who’s their favorite pundit, and why? Are they radicalizing our youth? And when a child is too young to be politically affiliated, ask what their parents’ political affiliation is because the source of this hatred and division is to be found in our politics.
About the author
Gerald Enrique del Campo is a poet, Jungian, philosopher, hermetic magician, shaman, mythologist, author, musician, mead maker, herbalist, foodie, motorcyclist and, all around nice guy.