War School

Another school shooting. This time it was fairly close to home, if you can call across the state as being close. It was five hours behind the wheel close, which is close enough for me. Sandy Hook was far, but it still caused me to feel depressed. The shooting in Marysville hit a little harder because it happened twenty minutes from where my daughter and my grandson live. That is close enough that one gets the sense that the violence could spill easily to her neighborhood and touch my family.

The shooter, Jaylen Fryberg, was described as a happy and popular young man. He didn’t fit the profile of the outcast with a grudge against the school’s elite. He was a part of it. And there will be tons of discussions where people will discuss the incident and dissect it into nearly atom level segments and experts will pronounce their opinions.

The thing is, no one’s ever going to know what caused him to go into the school cafeteria and open up on a table of his fellow students with a small caliber handgun, firing randomly until he hit and killed one, wounded four others and then turned the gun on himself.

Violence has become a medium of communication in the world today. Statesmanship and cooperative negotiation appears to be receding and brutality taking its place.  Granted, some aspects of people seem more prone to violence than others, but people in general seem to be a lot more accepting of violence -so long as it doesn’t touch them personally.

Islam is a religion of peace according to the tenets of the Koran; at least, that’s how it’s been represented to me. Yet it is also currently the greatest purveyor of violence. Ergo, I can’t help but believe that the system of beliefs is one of peace at all, not as long as its members directly or tacitly support the mayhem being levied as a political tool that even kills its own kind. That’s indiscriminate violence which sees none as innocent save the purveyors of the killings themselves.

In third world nations we read with blase interest about the genocide inflicted by one tribe or faction against others. Even baldfaced on the world stage we see violence as Russia floods troops into the Ukraine.  Plus, we see a much higher margin of African Americans dying from police action, although the greatest number of murders are black on black. It’s all crazy. Violence is the medium but what’s the message? I don’t think anyone knows.

Here in the US is it the fault of the NRA or extremely violent video games that we have youth killing classmates? Sure, it’s easy to say that it is, yet there’s no connective tissue to prove it.  I believe that the American preoccupation with guns was a slowly built propensity based in a history of the need to use violence to protect and better our lives as unions developed and forced collective bargaining on unreceptive management. The thing is, the application of violence was successful, just as was the shedding of blood to form the US in the first place. The Second Amendment was placed in the Constitution for good reason, although it would appear that the need for it has been made obsolete by the gains of rights and the swerve to the genteel by our society. But, some people are asking, what about the future? At the moment there is no overwhelming need for the defensive ownership of weapons but what about the future. I look at the way government has become the servant to industry rather than the people the members of government all swore an oath to protect and elevate.

I won’t be here too much longer and won’t live to see if the apathy towards the government continues to drive our youth and middle aged people from the vote. So I won’t get to see whether the country dodges the bullet or is once again driven to use violence to convey a low opinion of its leadership. I do believe that the people, if it does come to blows, will be more accepting of violence, but hopefully it won’t be so randomly applied as it is today, and the reasons for it easier to understand than it is now.

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Recollections and Stories from a Multiple Myeloma Victim