Monday, July 23, 2012


"It's like flood control in L.A." That's the first thing that came to mind. The expression describes something that everybody gets excited about but then soon forgets. Growing up in the L.A. area, I recall being sent home from school because of flooding from intense rainfall. There would be prolific public outcry about improving the drainage system...and then the sun would come out and with each day the issue would seemingly lose its importance.  Finally it would evaporate.
Gun control...effective gun control, never loses its importance.  But this isn't about gun control.  If any issue has ever had its day in court, this is the one.  There simply is no political will to change what passes for defense of the 2nd Amendment.  Still, the pundits discuss the issues.  They say things like who needs an assault rifle?  Deer don't wear bullet-proof vests.  They say things like we need safeguards like background checks on people who feel the need to order and own 6000 rounds of ammunition for their personal use.  Why does a person need four guns?
In the wake of the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre, we'll hear the outcry all day and all night.  We'll hear the experts and the illiterate alike.  The presidential candidates will skate around the center of the issue but in the end will be too afraid to really say anything meaningful.  Like others, they will focus on the victims, the difficulty in comprehending and putting a life back together.  The Congress will watch from afar.
There may even be some who want to examine the impact of violence in this culture, especially as it relates to media images, video games, the current wars we fight, and what passes for entertainment in the second decade of a still developing century.
On one of the entertainment news programs the other night, a media psychologist said that she didn't "think that Hollywood plays any role in this." (the shootings)  Really?  Nothing?  Wonder what and who is behind the fee paid for uttering that comment.  Certainly no producer has a horrific event in mind when they reinforce the violence rampant in "action films."  But no role in this?  Does that include the red-orange hair that perpetrator James Holmes carefully crafted to appear like a Batman character.  Granted, if a mentally unstable person identifies so completely with a fictional character, we can't blame the author, the film director.  It's nothing new.  Look at John Lennon's murderer, Mark David Chapman, who tried to live the life of Holden Caulfield.  There are other examples, equally as chilling.
Yet, would it be so difficult to look at the big picture?  Would a sane society take the initiative and attempt to protect it's citizenry from those who can't quite distinguish between reality and fantasy?
This morning, when young Mr. Holmes was brought into the courtroom to hear and respond to the charges brought against him, he sat there alternately closing his eyes, furrowing his brow, seemingly disconnected, and then abruptly appearing to regain consciousness.  Probably didn't sleep too well the last couple of nights.  Brian Williams of NBC news commented on the range of emotions that seemed to flash across his silent countenance.  Fear, disbelief, grief, some recognition of presence, indifference, and perhaps boredom.  Yet, when I turned on NPR news a few minutes later I heard that he "sat there emotionless."
It's complicated...and it isn't.

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