Dying by Inches and Feet

Like everyone else, I woke up Friday morning to horrible news in Aurora, Colorado.

As the day passed, the news got worse. 12 people killed, 58 injured. The alleged gunman, James Eagan Holmes, dressed in riot gear, carrying enough weapons to kill so many more, supposedly calling himself the Joker, and revealing his apartment was booby-trapped.

Amid my shock and sorrow, the thought came to me that this kind of incident is becoming almost common place. It doesn’t happen every year, but it happens enough that we begin to see a commonality to it all. Someone blows up a building or kills some people. The news crews are all over the scene, beaming every bit of information into our homes, onto our laptops and smartphones. Political leaders, politicians, and other so-called important people tell of their shock and sadness. There’s no doubt to their sincerity, but I suspect many public officials have a semi-standard script they read from to ensure the public that the emotional weight is real and shared with their audience.

I’m sure some may call what I’ve said cold and callous, but I have a point.

These events, these mass shooting and killing, for whatever reason, are horrible and tragic. They usually involve innocent people going about their lives. Like everyone out there, they aren’t perfect. Who is! But they don’t deserve death. They don’t deserve to be gunned down by anyone, for any reason.

So why isn’t more done?

If these events affect our leaders, and those in power so much, why isn’t more done? Something like this will happen again. Someone, either mentally unstable, or with a belief system that condones the deaths of people who most likely had nothing to do their agenda, will gather the means to kill, and do so.

So why aren’t the men and women in power brainstorming over ideas to ensure these tragic events can be reduced, stopped more quickly, or discovered before they can be enacted?

The reason could be apathy. As terrible as these kind of events are, in time, they are forgotten by the majority of the population. An example I head about was when the Tsunami struck Japan. It was featured in the news all over the world. But around the same time, Charlie Sheen had his public, boisterous breakdown. Some news agencies ran with Charlie Sheen’s story, while people in Japan were still reeling from the disaster.

The human population can be extremely stupid and easily distracted by the most inane things, and this seems most prevalent in the United States. Anther example; after the shootings at Columbine High School, the NRA went to Littleton, Colorado to hold their convention, to show they would not be sidelined by the attacks. The NRA, and Charlton Heston sit in the faces of the families and people who were affected by that tragedy. They utterly ignored common decency and compassion. 

The events in Aurora will soon pass into history and the majority of the population will be shocked by some tart on a reality TV show, or another high-profile divorce. Those people in power who were shocked and saddened, will return their focus to lining their pockets and pushing through whatever agendas they have. It will be up to nut-bars like Michael Moore, or Morgan Spurlock, or some up-and-coming voice to remind the country, and world, that these events won’t stop.

Another popular culprit is the entertainment industry. People will rally, saying that violent movies inspired James Eagan Holmes to kill those people. He called himself the Joker, after all. Thing is, people all over the world see these movies. Canada isn’t devoid of crime. In fact, recently, there have been an escalation in shootings and deaths in our biggest city, Toronto. People get killed every day. But it seems that those who are mentally unstable to begin with are the ones who think enacting a violent scene from a movie is a good idea. A lot of people forget that people have been killed for all kinds of reasons. My personal favorite is religion. I have no solid statistics, but if you look back through the history of man and civilization, I’m sure the number one reason people were killed was because of religious persecution.

Personally, I think if the rich and powerful, privately or those serving the public, truly wanted to make a serious change, to curb these mass shootings, they could. If Joe and Jane Average saw this movement towards change, they would follow suit and support such change.

But that’s not how the system works, especially in America.

Like I said before, people in places of standing and power will give their condolences, as sincerely as they can. But if they try to do anything to make a change, they run up against other organizations, powerful organizations, who see this change, even if it’s for good, as a threat to them and theirs. A perfect example is “Obamacare”. People have been turned away from hospitals because they couldn’t afford treatment. Low-income people are afraid to get sick because they can’t pay to be treated. Even if people do have health insurance, the hoops and dances they have to do to please the insurance company are numerous. Meanwhile, insurance representatives dig into your back-history like Indiana Jones, until they can find a way to not have to pay their customers. Many insurance companies aren’t there for you, they are there for their shareholders. “Obamacare” may not be perfect, but it was a step in the right direction.

Yet, people fought against it. They stated it violated their rights, forcing them to get treatment in certain areas, by certain doctors. They feared it was a way for the government to run their lives. Funny, but it doesn’t feel like that in Canada. Up here, worrying about how to pay, or whether we are being controlled by our government is the last thing on our minds when we go to the hospital or see our doctor. All we think about is what is wrong and getting better.

People die all the time. Everywhere. An untold number of people have been killed in Syria, yet we don’t mourn them like the 12 killed in Aurora. Men, women and children have been killed there, gunned down in their own houses. But when one nutjob shoots up a movie theater in America, its tragic. If you want to see how the majority of the population will treat those killed and wounded in Aurora, just watch how they treat the hundreds upon hundreds of people killed in Syria.

It’ll eventually turn to indifference. Save for those involved.

A few months back, after watching the movie “The Expendables”, I teased my sister about two of the stars of the movie, Randy Couture, a Ultimiate Fighting Campion (or UFC, for short) fighter, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, formerly of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). My tease was that the only reason Austin lost to Couture was because he was the bad guy. She, being a MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), and thus a UFC fan, vehemently pointed out how “fake” wrestling is. My point between the two, UFC and WWE, was that in UFC, the goal is to beat the opponent, more often than not, into a blood-soaked mess, or unconscious, or both.  WWE is to entertain, to give the appearance of violence without hurting the other person. Both take skill and training, but in the end, it was my belief that the one trained to give the appearance of violence is better than to do actual violence. She scoffed at my belief. When I asked her directly, which is better, she sided with doing actual violence to another person.

Violence is a part of life. Humans are violent creatures. We use it to gain control and to exert power over others. Conflicts between nations are more often settled via war than peaceful solutions. But doing nothing to try to change such ways of thinking is just as bad as condoning such violent acts, like the one in Aurora, Colorado. 

Those that see violence as a solution instead of a problem will never find true peace. The life they live will affect those around them. The society that is built will continue its vicious circle of tragedy, dying by inches and feet, until it is all we know.

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4 thoughts on “Dying by Inches and Feet”

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