10:40:43 pm on
Saturday 17 Aug 2019

Slaughter of Innocents is Ok
AJ Robinson



Potential victims run for shelter during mass shooting in Las Vegas
at Route 91 Harvest Festival on 1 October 2019.

Different people respond to the same situation differently, that’s a given. In fact, it’s something I teach in a couple of my writing classes; writers want to make sure characters are not cookie cutter copies of each other. That’s boring; characters must vary.  

• The woman stood still.

I remember seeing the movie Jaws. There was a scene where people thought the shark was after them at the beach. They screamed, panicked and raced to get out of the water. Except for one woman, she stood there, in the water, holding her child and screaming.

My dad made the comment that although the woman was clearly panicking, she might be the safest person there. Sharks are attracted to movement and splashing. As this woman was holding still, while everyone moved around her; she might avoid a bite. Of course, it’s later shown that two young boys played a hoax, with that shark attack; an example of the old tale of boy that cried wolf.

It does make the point that people react differently when presented with the same circumstances. Take mass shootings. There are so many, you have a wide choice, but do pick one and ponder it for as you read.

New Zealand recently had their first and the nation was outraged, saddened and motivated. Their prime minister quickly called for a ban on assault weapons, the parliament passed the law and that was that. They did what every other industrialized nation has done; that is, rid the country of weapons of mass killing.

Well, almost all other countries banned such weapons. The United States of America is the exception. We, in the US would never think of doing such a thing; it’d make too much sense to get rid of arms of mass murder. Americans can’t have any of that

It is quite the contrast, isn’t it? Other countries work to protect their citizens, their children, and act to get rid of those things that endanger them. In the United States, we do the old thoughts and prayers routine, we half-heartedly debate. We say we can’t violate constitutional rights by doing something as simple as a background check.

Oh and then there are other things we now do. There are conspiracy theories. This is quite the cottage industry. Conspiracy theory followers, such as Alex Jones or Jerome Corsi, actively put out stories saying that all these mass shootings are fakes, staged and all the people are actors.

• Faked shootings for how long, fifty years?

I’d like to ask one of these people how long have fake shootings been going on? Are such shootings a recent occurrence? After all, there was a mass shooting in Texas back in the late 1960s; that’s the Texas Tower Shooting in August 1966, in Austin.

I won’t mention the name of the shooter, he deserves to remain invisible, but he shot something like 42 people and the final death toll was about 17. There was a news programme about the fiftieth anniversary of the event. I have to wonder, was that faked? If so, that’s dedication among the actors to stick with a story for all these decades

Then there are our other acts. We hand out bulletproof shields to kids to put in their backpacks, somewhere for them to hide under. We have school drills and some schools have even built safe rooms, similar to a panic room, in each classroom so the students can have a safe place to hide. We arm teachers. We put metal detectors at the entrances. We build schools that are fortresses, with barbed wire fences, virtual moats surrounding them and armed guards at the doors. Why stop there? Why not arm the students, It’d sure cut down on bullying.

There’s also the different ways in which we react to the shooters. If he’s Black, Hispanic or non-Christian, he’s a criminal. He’s a terrorist. He’s a foreigner. He’s a non-Christian criminal terrorist foreigner.

If he’s a White Christian, the image is so much different. Bullying was the cause. He lacked proper male role models. He needed mental health treatment. Rock music, such as Death Metal videos, on-line games or drugs belonging to his momma made him do it. Amazing isn’t it, the excuses we come up with? We blame everything except the shooter and the ease with which he got his guns. I would laugh if it weren’t so sad.

I heard of a picture someone posted online. It showed a little girl standing on a toilet in a public bathroom. She said she was practicing how to hide for when a shooting took place in her daycare center. Have we really come to that point in our nation, little children going through shooting drills?

• I don’t know.

Yeah, it’s amazing how differently people react to the same event. The rest of the world acts with common sense and logic. We Americans, well, I don’t know. What would you call how we act, irrational.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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