Sitting and watching the news over the past twenty-four hours pushed me into the depths of despair. As I sat and watched, I couldn’t help but wonder if we are going to survive as a nation or as an inhabited planet.
Twenty-nine innocent people murdered, and fifty-two injured for no reason other than hatred. Both weapons used were built for no purpose other than for killing human beings. What is offered up for these two crimes; prayers, words of condolence and questions of how many more times will we let this happen. 251 mass shootings in the USA in 216 days. My despair comes from the years of hearing the same words. I feel despair because I want to believe this country is better than this. That we care about each other. That we have the courage to do something to stop this carnage. And yet, the facts suggest that maybe none of this is true. Based on the years of events just like the last two, our elected officials will do nothing to help prevent the next shooting. It is obvious to anyone who looks or listens to these men and women. They will do nothing to prevent the next man, woman or child from dying; if they think it could possibly in any way hurt them politically. When you are more concerned with keeping your job than you are in protecting the citizens of this country, you’re not fit serve in any elected office. And still they will be. Because we are complicit in allowing this to continue. By hiding behind the 2nd. Amendment, and not being willing to budge one inch in trying to slow down the slaughter in this country. We, the voting citizens of this country continue to allow this blood-bath to stain our country.
My despair does not begin and end with our obsession with guns. I believe it goes hand in hand with the nature that seems to have overtaken our country. Hatred seems to be the desired emotion. Greed has become our national pastime and religion. Lies have become more acceptable and desired than truth.
Last week it was reported that the Arctic’s ice sheet melted 11 billion tons in one day. Worldwide, July was the hottest month ever recorded. 97-98% of all climate experts agree on climate change, global warming and the impact mankind is having on this issue. And our countries highest elected office holder has said its a hoax. What is far more concerning than his comments, are the millions of people in this country who agree with him. They agree not because he has any proof, they agree simply because he says it and they would rather believe it.
Why do those who deny all factual data supporting this danger, continue to believe, or at least say they believe this is is not real? I suggest it is because of greed. To alter, to stop this potential species ending catastrophe, would cost money for those who most profit from our behavior. To alter our way of living, to partner with the rest of the world to alter this behavior would require us to make fundamental life changes. And those who profit, who financially support those who deny climate change, will not tolerate change and any potential reduction in their greed. Perhaps also, it’s because we’ve simply grown lazy. In a three and a half mile walk this morning, I saw thousands of items of trash (cans, plastic whisky bottles, straws, paper, garbage, fast food wrappers) strewn along the side of the road. Thrown there because it was too inconvenient to use a trash can. Maybe it wasn’t the inconvenience, maybe it was the sense of entitlement so many people have come to accept.
My good friend Jack often says to me, that he tries to “always take care of his side of the sidewalk.” He does what he can to help. He seems to have found some contentment in being responsible for doing what he is capable of doing. And so I will try and do what I can. I will attempt to take care of my side of the sidewalk. I will not be silent regarding those things that matter. I will be active in trying to change those issues that effect those I love.
“Action is the antidote to despair.” Joan Baez
Go well – David