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Here’s the story:

The first priority now, of course, is taking care of all the people affected by this, showing support, being there for those who need it. Everyone able to offer that moral or material support should do so.

Our second priority is making sure that it never happens again, or happens with far less frequency. We shouldn’t fall into the habit of thinking of this as “an isolated incident,” and treat it the way we might treat a natural disaster, as if it just happens from time to time, and merits mourning but no changes in how we frame our shared existence. Rep. Rhonda Fields, who of course lost her own son to violence, was just on 9-News reminding us that we have to work to ensure that this DOESN’T happen, that we are not a society in the grip of random violence.

And the obvious way for us to stop being such a violent society is for us to stop being such a violent society, in thoughts, in beliefs, in ideology, in how some of us fetishize instruments of destruction, and in actions.

There will be those who insist that it is “wrong” to use this as a catalyst for discussing the underlying social problems involved, but if we don’t draw attention to them in the moments when their consequences explode upon us, then they are more easily minimized by those so inclined in times when their consequences are more remote from our thoughts.

Kyle Clark on 9-News just suggested that we all say or do something nice for someone today so that that ripples out and creates a more caring and mutually supportive society, and Kyle Dyer added that we should do so every day. They’re right; we make our culture and our society through our thoughts and actions. But we shouldn’t live dual lives, one defined by trying to be nice to those around us, and another defined by callousness and a lack of compassion in how we arrange our shared existence.

We need to work to become a different kind of society, a society that believes it’s important to reduce the levels of violence that we suffer, a society that is defined more by how much we care about and support one another than by how much we fear and loathe one another, a society that believes in BEING a society more than it believes in some moral imperative of mutual indifference. We all, as members of a society that participates in the creation of the culture in which we live, share some portion of responsibility for every event of this nature that occurs, either for what we’ve done to cultivate such a violent culture, or for what we’ve failed to do to cultivate something more rational and humane.

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  • sblecher:

    This is so pathetic. The TV news people interview eyewitnesses, relatives of the victims, and the local police chief. They also try to get some background information about the suspect, and various churches hold memorial services. Politicians will say sanctimonious words and pledge that it will never happen again. Meanwhile the NRA and the gun lobby will launch an impassioned defense of assault weapons, and recommend that everybody carry a gun. The politicians will vote with the NRA, and we can wait for the next massacre. We don’t know when or where it will take place, but it will almost certainly happen. I can write the script now, and only need to leave blank spaces for the number of victims and the location.

  • Exactly. Facebook was a awash with the most absurd defenses of absolutely ignoring this once again, numerous people unknowingly duplicating a Doonesbury punchline from a decade or two ago (Uncle Duke, representing the NRA, saying in Congressional hearings, “Wouldn’t you want to be able to return fire?”). It’s horribly, tragically bizarre.

  • sblecher:

    Irony of ironies! The Columbine massacre happened in Colo. district 6, when the demagogue Tancredo was a freshman congressman. There was a brief flurry of interest in gun control, but it quickly died down. Since that time there were several more massacres carried out with assault weapons. The latest one was in District 6 AGAIN, and it’s even worse than Columbine. The President will visit Colorado once again, and no doubt the Republicans will accuse him of a cheap political ploy. Meanwhile I’m wondering how our glorious Congressman, Mike Coffman, will react

  • KMCole:

    Don’t go in the water! Remember how frightened people were, after seeing the first “Jaws” movie. Of course we’d all known all along about the apex predator business, and how people could be eaten alive. How long did it take for us to go back in the water? I don’t know.
    What I do know is this. Coloradans are now in a race to buy handguns. Of course, we’ve forgotten the wildfire business, just as we forgot the apex predator business. (Anyway wasn’t the wildfire triggered by gun fire in Utah? I don’t know, Mildred, I didn’t listen to the broadcast.) If the handguns are more or, in some instances, less sophisticated and deadly, it’s fine with us … we’re armed!
    What else have we forgotten? I mean, besides, Rule Number 1, “Someone is always bigger, badder and better equipped than you are.” Possibly we’ve forgotten the number of accidental shootings in the country each year. Or, maybe, we just haven’t thought about the continually increasing sophistication and astonishing proliferation of weaponry in this nation and the control and manipulation of our government by the gun lobby. -Any of this offend you?
    It has been many, many years, since my husband, our Irish setter and our two little girls were terrorized on the Switzerland Trail, near Boulder. The day after Christmas we wanted to take a hike and have a Winter picnic. As we were about to finish our hike, a pair of teenage boys were target shooting with rifles they’d received for Christmas.
    When the young men realized they were shooting in our direction (we were yelling, screaming, frantically calling our dog,) they came closer, continuing to shoot. A bullet whizzed past my husband’s ear. I grabbed my little girls hands, and dove over an embankment. My husband did an astonishing thing. Enraged he ran toward the gunfire and the boys — he was in hot pursuit, as they ran to the parking area, saw them jump into their truck, got the license number.
    Oh yes, the young men and their parents had to appear in juvenile court. I don’t recall the outcome … just that it did not approach “justice.”
    I think we need to ask ourselves what kind of place we’re making for our children and grandchildren, rather than ask ourselves where the Wild West, Frontier Justice and Wyatt Earp have gone.

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