Sunday, July 10, 2016

Gunfight at the We're Not OK Corral

Not to be negative, America, but we are not ok. 

It is not ok to get armed far beyond the teeth or eyebrows or cowlicks, and shoot as many people as possible. 

It is not ok to perceive every person who might be different from you as an immediate threat to Life As We Know It.

Some mistake in the brain's wiring, some horror repressed from an abusive relationship, something becomes not ok in the thinking of the deranged. I recently wondered, given the discovery of knowingly lead-poisoned water in one city's water supply - and the seemingly monthly massacre shootings we are confronting - how many cities across America for how many decades have had tainted water supplies? 

Lead poisoning at low levels - especially in the young - have critical consequences, as noted here by the World Health Organization:

"Blood lead levels that were considered previously to be safe are now understood to compromise health and injure multiple organs, even in the absence of overt symptoms. The most critical consequence of low level lead toxicity in utero and during childhood is damage to the developing brain and nervous system. The immune, reproductive and cardiovascular
systems are also adversely affected by relatively low levels of exposure to
lead ...
The consequences of brain injury from exposure to lead in early life are loss of intelligence, shortening of attention span and disruption of behavior. Because the human brain has little capacity for repair, these effects are untreatable and irreversible. They cause diminution in brain function and reduction in achievement that last throughout life."

Nationally, easily more than 100 cities have aging water supply infrastructure that's likely also supplying lead. And that's just one potential source of toxins that could permanently damage cognition and other vital mental functions.

It is not ok for a society to be consumed with warfare for as long as we have been - and again, perception is filtered through a distorted lens. Military weaponry, tactics and strategies surround us. 

It's not ok to execute a death blow to someone being arrested for traffic violations, even if the person is later learned to be a felon, because the death penalty is only to be exacted after the judicial system has examined the person. And while we're talking judicial system, it is not ok for prisons to be run by corporations for profit. The corporations demand inmates to make money, my god that's barbaric.

It's no ok to be a racist. A racist is not just ignorant, but actually dangerous to those around them, threatening social stability at every level. A racist politician is an even larger threat. It's not ok to be silent when you encounter racism - the ignorant who reveal such a characteristic desperately need education.

On a personal aside here, the recent weeks have been so very strange because the news of the day is so similar to a futuristic science-fiction dystopian society short story I wrote in my early teens. The tale followed events as a sniper, for some un-named protest, began shooting at random, but everyone is armed and some are eager to join in a gunfight because the media of the day celebrates the vigilante. The tale was gruesome (i was writing for shock value, and not that well). The society was constantly under fire, the population medicated with anti-anxiety pills, political views were always punctuated with a bullet. I'm horrified beyond words that the actual world I see today resembles in anyway my childish paranoid view of the future. That isn't ok either, the world deserves so much better than such a poorly written narrative.

Lastly, the jingoistic claim that all it takes to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun is now a proven ridiculous notion. A giant chunk of armed police on the scene in Dallas when one shooter appeared could not prevent the killings.  It is not ok to live every day like vengeful Earps and Clantons warring in the middle of town. Picking a side and joining in battle will never end the violence, it nurtures violence.