Friday, November 6, 2009

Sad Day: Fort Hood Shootings

This is a very sad day after yesterday's shootings at Fort Hood. Lots of questions remain of course and since the shooter is alive but on a respirator, who knows if those questions will ever be answered. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones and comrades and to the wounded and their families.

There is so much violence in this world. As an historian I know there have been other violent periods of history and that our own era is relatively peaceful. The difference is that now we hear more about it, and more of us I believe are actually touched by violence. So many of us have personally been victims of violent crime, myself included, and yet we grow almost inured to it in the news. It takes a personal connection to violence or a big tragedy like this one or the shootings at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, NY of this year (only 25 miles from my home) to catch our attention.

I'm a peaceful person who abhors violence on any level, but with the wars around the world, continued eye-for-an-eye killings in the Middle East, and American kids beating and killing for "dissing" each other, I almost despair of the concept of peace.

Television, video games, movies, etc. are partly to blame, but that isn't all of it. Even I enjoy the CSI-like forensic science shows on TV and I'm addicted to mystery novels. No, more of the cause is an overwhelming atmosphere of anger that permeates every aspect of life, from road rage to registered sex offenders killing women and hiding the bodies on their property. I see it in teens practically knocking me aside walking down the street, in college football players purposely trying to gouge the eyes of a downed opponent, in drivers shouting and making obscene gestures at other drivers or pedestrians, in the street brawls after a city's sports team wins a championship, and as recently happened just north of Binghamton when someone dropped kittens one by one onto a highway into traffic where they were all killed.

I don't have any inkling of a solution to this terrible situation and that bothers me. How can we all just watch this happening, and yet what in the world can we do about it? The only thought that comes to me is that I think of how I was raised, how fortunate I was to have a good family and security, and I wonder what's become of good parenting. Is that the answer? I'm curious what my readers think.

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