It’s not hard to accept the obvious conclusion. That our rhetoric, our political tactics, the deliberate destruction of public norms, constant name-calling, the very concept that guns everywhere and in anyone’s hand no matter how damaged they are as a person; all help CAUSE the kind of violence that makes it necessary to have armed cops in places where we never needed them before, like schools.
It wasn’t that long ago our kids could walk into school after the bell rings and only worry about being caught for being late. Fathers and mothers could come and talk with the principal. We could shop without guns all around us in the hands of capable? Inept? Criminal yet to expose their blood lust?
Not that long ago public servants could be at home and not worry about some madman with a hammer, in their office and we could swing by the better ones and talk with at least their secretaries, offering our feedback. Not worry about some terrorist with a bat.
We are all supposed to accept the new norm?
I don’t think the shootings have a millionth of an inch separation from the state of discourse these days. It’s hard to escape deliberate efforts to raise hate’s temperature, attempts to “own” those who dare to disagree, culture wars, demands people have to “fight like hell” as they gather to protest the results of an election ARE what’s causing those who are mentally unstable to dive off the cliff to feed the monster within. And we have media and social media advocates willing to help others follow them over that cliff. Of course algorithms and bots gleefully add both nitro and gas to the explosions.
We are living in a Serling-esk The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street era.
Once we had a common sense of right and wrong, no matter what our opinions were. We had left, right, but parents of all persuasions knew some of what we do now was wrong. Parents weren’t driving their kids over the sanity’s border to protect whatever: they loved their kids enough to protect them from that. Most communities were safe enough that their child could go out to get candy and soda wearing a hoodie and not be killed by someone who never identified themselves.
And if it had happened we would agree the killer had stepped over the line.
Causes? A media model that’s BASED on hyping up division, blaming the victim, demonizing those who disagree. Add to that a performative model of politics that encourages incivility, hate, fear of the other.
From the start of current talk radio model potting down callers, talking over callers, callers thinking they have a right to filibuster hosts: all have become acceptable WWE-style “entertainment.” The Gong Show gone mad.
All based on the other side must be silenced, even ELIMINATED, whether by hammer, bat, knee on neck or gun. To get what one side wants they can hold the other, the economy, the country, hostage.
The hate monster demands to be fed.
Our Republic must be saved, our “values,” our Constitution: even if the way we save it violates all three of those. See? Over there!? If it weren’t for “those people” things would be OK. Let’s feed them to the monster we created.
I have rewritten a story I rewritten many times. Here’s the latest version.
By Ken Carman
Once there was a village next to a pit. Tales told over centuries mentioned a monster that lived in the pit and had to be fed. Some in the village didn’t believe there was a monster at all.
For most of those centuries the people just threw useless items and garbage into the pit. Increasingly the people who lived closest to the pit got sick. Some died and that’s how the villagers started to toss their dead into the pit too.
The monster, once myth, was no longer myth.
More people got sick, and some said that maybe we needed to stop tossing garbage and the dead into the pit. But this is the way it was done. Increasingly certain groups were blamed: people who had immigrated to the community, people of a certain color. Preachers preached against “deviants” and that they should be tossed into the pit. Their God, the monster, demanded it.
Animosity grew, as did the monster. Local media didn’t help: hate and blame being very profitable. Soon the mentally unstable, and the most angry, started going into schools, churches, stores, public buildings, murdering people: then feeding them to the monster. Some blamed those who didn’t believe, demanding the monster be fed them.
Finally an actual monster climbed out of the pit and just started eating everyone.
”You didn’t exist before. Who created you?” the doubters cried.
”All of you did,” said the monster.
The believers cried, “But we fed you when you were hungry, we killed the evil ones and fed them to you. Who gave you the right to eat us too?”
The monster smiled his wicked smile and said, “Why you did.”
And after that the villagers were no more.
“Inspection” is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 50 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions.
All Rights Reserved.