Saturday, February 17, 2018

Getting Out Of Dodge

Three days ago we had our eleventh school shooting of 2018, this latest savagery occurring at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  Fourteen teenagers and three adults were killed, and in the wake of this carnage President Trump and Republican leaders have been praying, condoling, and calling for greater attention to mentally troubled students.

What they are decidedly not calling for is any limitation on gun ownership.

It leaves me with imaginings of simply getting out of here, "here" being a country hijacked by Congress's coupling with the NRA and dark money.  I still hope that this foulness can be carved out of our political culture, but my hope rests uneasily on three suppositions –– that our courts gut gerrymandering, that Congress develop a moral compass, and that our electorate distinguish between a diseased system and a diseased individual, between an unwell tree and a bad apple.  

Sick systems we can fix; we can make it harder to buy a judge or a senator, we can elect representatives who are not shills for the gun lobby and the NRA, and we can install supports for vulnerable individuals, families and communities.  Sick individuals, however, are always going to live among us; they come with the human territory, they deform under warping pressures, and we co-create them by neglecting those pressures.

There will always be those on the margins of the good life, the socioeconomic good life for sure, but also the good life of a peaceable disposition.  And this doesn't even address those "normals" amongst us who, given certain stressors, pop their rivets.  And whether we speak of marginalized persons or ostensibly normal persons, when they blow they blow and it's a sensible idea if they're far from an assault rifle.

It's a comforting fiction to believe in a binary world of good guys with guns set to defend us from bad guys with guns –– a fiction, because good and bad often blur within the same person at different times, and in different situations, and under different stressors.  The bad guy in your life may turn out to be your husband, your child, your congressman, or yourself in your darkest moments.  We can't control the emergence of badness, we can control the tools of its lethality.

So I'm not optimistic, and meanwhile the Canadian maritimes are looking pretty clean.  We're dealing here with advanced rot in our national governance and I'm not sure what "America" means anymore. It's becoming unrecognizable to me, or maybe all too recognizable, or maybe I never properly understood its fault lines in the first place.

Just now, even as I write this, some emails have dinged into my inbox with bouncy promises of Presidents' Day deals.  Good to know ... we're open for business.


As usual, I take solace in music:

It strikes me that as a country America is still quite the frontier town –– yee-haw!  And them savages?  Gotta have savages, right?  Gotta have a them: Injuns, immigrants, varmints, crazies who shoot up schools.

Well boys, it's beginning to look like them is us.  Nobody eats their young like we do.

1 comment :

Unknown said...

Thank you for this Kit. I really appreciate you and this blog

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