Act I of our lives, birth – 30ish, is full of self-doubt and uncertainty. For those of us who were screw-ups and smarty-pants, we got harangued by adults, “This is going on your permanent record!”
Act II of our lives, 30ish – 65ish, is when we struggle to find our “voice.” Who am I, really?
Act III of our lives, 65+, is about finding a “soft landing.” What has it all meant?
The challenges of surviving life’s roller coaster is the theme of my next show at the Dragon Theater in Redwood City on June 24: Let ‘er Rip: Stories of Our Darkest Hours and Greatest Triumphs.
As poet e e cummings said,
“The hardest battle is to be
nobody but yourself in a world
that is doing its best day and
night to make you like everybody else.”
Ho Hum, Another School Shooting
The Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas is the 22nd. this year. THIS YEAR! It is always the same, “We interrupt this program…” “He was a quiet young man. Kept to himself.” “Our thoughts and prayers go out…”
The language is so familiar. We especially like calling the (almost always) young white male the “shooter.” Sounds cool, even sexy. Why not “gunman,” or “killer,” or “murderer?” What is even cooler still is the phrase, “active shooter situation” (soon we’ll have a new acronym, ‘ASS.’)
Boom. We go to helicopter shots and students running for dear life. Then a close up of a crying student and his / her parent. Then the nitwit news reporter interviewing the parent, “How did it feel when you heard your son was killed?” Really? I’d love to see one of these people punch the reporter in the nose, “Get out of my face, you ambulance-chasing son-of-a-bitch.”
Then we hear from the school superintendent, the mayor, the police chief or even the governor. Lots of details about casualties. Where did he get the guns? Were they legal? Then stories about how and where the killer got access to the school. Did he shoot popular kids? Teachers? Jocks? Random? What hate prose was on his computer and Facebook posts? Nazi rhetoric? It goes on and on.
Then comes lots of talk about how we need to “harden” schools with metal detectors, and why teachers should carry guns. (Now there is a great idea.) One comedian suggested we arm all the children. Those grammar school kids with smaller hands will need smaller pistols. Imagine this huge new market! Cha-Ching!
Then politicians with NRA A+ ratings say; “This is not the time to politicize this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out…”
I do, though, agree with the NRA in a recent TV blow-up by Spokeswoman, Dana Loesch who yelled at the media, “You people on the TV platforms in the back love mass shootings. You love the ratings! Crying white mothers are ratings gold. There are thousands of grieving black mothers in Chicago every weekend, but you don’t see CNN town hall meetings for them.” Most killings are done up close with small hand guns, not assault rifles. We don’t hear about that. Not good for ratings.
This has become such a train wreck for our country. I don’t know what to do about it, but I do think if the public saw the police photos of the bloody carnage of our slaughtered children in their classrooms on TV at night, the outrage would bring a hault to the NRA juggernaut.
What we do not hear about are plausible reasons for this carnage. Yes, it is too many guns. Yes, it is violence on TV and in video games. I think, though, at base, it is caused by the same thing that got Trump elected. A large segment of our country feels ignored. Remember the “fly-over states,” and Clinton’s “deplorables?” The decline of white male middle class wages, jobs being lost to China or a computer chip, religious beliefs evaporating in the face of science, families spread across the country, people with more friends on Facebook than in reality, and mostly, loss of personal dignity and pride. Trump’s base resonates to his messge that we’re being screwed by the rest of the world. We’re being taken advantage of. They are laughing at us, and it is time to get even. We’re going to make America great again. This is how the Germans felt after WW I and before they elected Hitler.They were humiliated and Hitler promised to make Germany great again.
Today, these young, would-be killers sit in their rooms feeling victimized and wallowing in their rage. If we don’t believe in anything anymore, and the future looks bleak, the dads and moms get lost in pills and suicide, and the kids kill people at school.
BTW, just a guess, but I bet the killer at Santa Fe didn’t have a date for the prom. Just a guess. Maybe when these future “shooters” get red flagged, we should supply them with “Comfort Women” like they had in Japan in WW II.