My Blog Week: May 23 to May 29
A Word on the Week
If the title of this piece makes you think of events like this week’s in San Jose, exactly so. After the Colorado shooting, not the birthday party shooting reported May 11, but the King Soopers shooting on March 22, survivors recounted the habit they’d acquired, of expecting and looking for a shooter in whatever place they feel vulnerable. The excerpt below is from a Washington Post article, “Grocery workers, already reeling…” dated May 3, 2021.
In the six weeks since a gunman killed 10 people — including his manager and two colleagues — at the King Soopers market in Boulder, Loomis has come to avoid crowds and public places. He is sad, angry and anxious, and following months of working the front lines of [the] pandemic, worn out.
“A lot of people are quitting, and others are still too shaken up to talk about what happened,” the 21-year-old cashier said. “Wherever I go now, I’m looking at people, thinking, ‘Does he have an assault rifle? Was that a gunshot? How do I escape?’ ”
We know that one shooting is often followed by another, some days later; that copycatting is especially rife among angry men with guns. Courtesy of the Gun Violence Archive, here are some figures for America’s mass shootings of recent years.
Shootings, not death tolls. So far I’ve found for 2021 a citing of 225, but probably this figure is short the Miami shooting, since the articles are all listed as, “2 days ago”. This oft-repeated story has gotten into the national consciousness; we’ve reached the point where not only those with personal experience, but all of us, with the personal experience of reading relentless reiterations of the active shooter scenario, have thought of what to do. We are even supposed to think of what to do, advised to, and many have jobs that require training for it. Shooters are mostly men (by far, and emphasized by the fact no one has insisted on gender-neutralizing the term “gunman”); mostly daytime attackers; most victims are known to the shooter.
Republicans make the mealy excuse that the problem is one of mental health and can’t be solved by banning assault weapons. Also, weakly organized personalities, formed in unstable homes, are attracted to temptations and persuasions. It may even be that the mentally ill are more inclined than the average person to believe that the Ted Cruzes and Mike Lees, the Tucker Carlsons and Laura Ingrahams, speaking on the television, are part of their personal world, and advise them in personal ways. (On another occasion, I’ll talk about the Republican party’s War on Self-Control.)
According to BuzzFeed, the GOP has even adopted the argument that gun restrictions are unfair to minorities. (While, if liberals can’t find a cure for the paralysis that any unexamined claim of victimhood induces in their reasoning skills, they somewhat deserve to watch helplessly as each plank of their platform becomes warped and worm-eaten.)
The course of history, however, is influenced by more than distant debate.
Sidelight: Matt Gaetz, who said this week, at a rally in Georgia, “We have a second amendment in this country, and I think we have an obligation to use it”, said also, with less coverage, but tellingly, “As President Trump reminds us, we are the elite now”. [Mercury News, May 28, 2021]. A little different, for messaging, from the Savior of the Diners narrative.
Not long from now, the worry, yours and mine…your neighbor’s, your colleagues’, your schoolmates’, your family’s…will mass, in its own right, into a spontaneous movement. Not a marching in the street movement, either, just the quiet decision, made person by person, not to shop, not to go to movies, concerts, restaurants, clubs. Not in the days after the last shooting was reported, because the copycat followup might occur anywhere.
And when this change impacts the economy, maybe Republican funding will dry up. Maybe not.
On Monday, the conclusion of “Be a Helper”, with Bede realizing how wide the implications of a new government order can be. Tuesday, Hammersmith, Aimee arriving in Philadelphia with Hogben, and in search of her niece. Wednesday, the latest improved edit of a short story, “Bad Counsel”. Andrée, with no great start in life, finds herself downwardly mobile. Thursday, the first half of two digital galleries, featuring images I’ve created on computer, that have no material existence…not necessarily. Friday, a reissue from Rattus, the poem “Giddy”. Saturday, Digital Gallery, part two.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: May 23 to May 29