Via Basel: Violence Unhinged
In the past, bad news came late, in bits and pieces and invariably altered by the many communication vehicles in between. Until it happened to you it was “there,” away from you, in place and time. Your mind, unaware, could continue functioning and dealing with the immediate everyday issues. Not today; in addition to daily challenges, we deal with potential problems that are constantly and repeatedly in the news. Even if you declare you don’t “watch the news” it’s practically impossible to avoid the barrage of mostly negative and violent happenings in your city, country, and all over the globe. Our senses are overloaded, our emotions in tatters and anxiety at record levels. So let’s come to the subject at hand, gun violence that has been endemic in this country for ages but spikes to catastrophic and obscene levels now and then. That time is now.
Too numerous to list just in the last few weeks, it hits a grocery store in Buffalo, a house of worship in Southern California, an elementary school in Texas, and counting, tragic massacres, and now in Tulsa, Oklahoma in a medical center where a gunman with an assault rifle killed his orthopedic surgeon and three others, blaming him for a bad surgical outcome. As a grandfather, I could not fathom my two little ones being attacked by a madman and, as an orthopedic surgeon, a disgruntled patient bursting into my office with guns ablaze. If this is not a violent society, then we are in denial. How can we be free when we can’t be safe in a grocery store, school, church, or doctor’s office? So don’t tell me it’s in Chicago or Detroit or NYC, because it’s all around us, in downtowns, suburbs, small and medium towns, and in every state of the union. What union, we in the USA are as divided, separated with more hate and malice towards each other than ever before, and we allow the purveyors of these deadly sins to roam among us unchecked, spreading their lies and fantastic poisonous theories. It is time to show up or shut up. Because if we do not tackle these existential issues head on ( I’m not even talking about climate change disasters) then we have dug our own grave and are just waiting to fall in it. I would rather be living hundreds of years ago and be ignorant, but maybe not. I’m tired now and will collect my thoughts and get back to you soon, that is if I don’t get shot.
Basel Al-Aswad, father of EIL founder Christopher Al-Aswad, is a yogi trapped in an Orthopedic Surgeon’s body. His loves in life include reading, writing, hiking, enjoying nature, meditation, and spending time with his large Iraqi family, and now, semi-retired, he is exploring new avenues in medicine, education, public speaking, and social engagement.
Every unkind word, every missed opportunity to say, “thank you” or “you are welcome here,” every choice to remain silent in the face of lies contributes to the evil that surrounds us and that keeps us apart. I am tired of saying “no” to what is destroying us. Yet, I just picked up my phone and called a friend in a nursing home. I said, “I love you.” I want to die saying those three words. In the USA two people are killed each hour by gunfire.
It is very scary. People go to places of worship. But crime is up. We have become so selfish that we do not care about other human beings at a personal level or between nations.
In Ohio, the governor just signed into law a bill that allows teachers to carry guns and that reduces gun training hours from 700 to 24 (!). In addition it is now legal to carry there a concealed weapon without a permit, effective yesterday. These are exactly the wrong steps to take. The right ones: taking guns away, especially AR-15s and the like, and outlawing witing hate groups.
We have to begin to hold accountable every local, state, and national official who refuses to advocate for and ensure removal of the massive gun arsenal Americans have in their homes. Holding accountable means voting them out of office.
The direction our country is going saddens me. We don’t have to live like this.
Completely agree with you Maureen. I was in the weekend demonstration against gun violence in Chicago. It’s an uphill battle with the dark forces but battle we must.
Americans, all to many of them, are ignorant by choice. We live in a very dangerous country. with more guns than there are people. As for “voting them out of office,” many entertain the notion that the President is responsible for high gas prices and inflation, with no thought at all given to the real reasons for the this, Putin’s war. Look for people who can tell the truth, think that our children should not be slaughtered, and actually care about someone not themselves.