Friday, October 2, 2015

Editorial On America's Mass Shootings: The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street


Bennington Vale Evening Transcript, San Narciso, Calif.

By: BC Bass

After years of mass shootings, I have become exhausted. Too exhausted, even, to try and recount the tragedy that befell Umpqua College Thursday morning. So I want to talk about something else. Take a different approach. Halloween’s just around the corner; why don’t we discuss monsters? We look on the perpetrators of these senseless slaughters as monsters. And they truly are. The word monster derives from the Latin monstrum, which originates from the root monere, which is where we also get the word “admonish.” They all define a warning or portent. That’s what monsters are. Warnings. Alarms alerting us to some terrible shit coming down the pike.

We’re all familiar with monsters. The fictional kind, the architects of genocides, the rapists, the child abusers, the serial killers, the righteous faithful who lynch others in the name of some god, and the disturbed individuals who gun down fellow human beings in school yards. They’re all the same. Yes, Hitler and Slobodan Milošević and Mehmet Talaat and Christopher Columbus and James Polk and Jared Fogle and Ted Bundy and Kip Kinkel and Dylan Klebold and Adam Lanza and the priests who molest altar boys and the dynamic gay butchering duo of Aaron McKinney/Russell Henderson are all the same. They’re monsters -- they’re warnings. Warnings that something needs to change on a sweeping social and cultural scale if we’re to rid ourselves of the creatures that stalk and torment us.

Every monster is a harbinger of depravities yet to unfold. Every monster brings a dire message of deeper evils taking root, brewing beneath the surface. Every monster heralds the need for change. And therein exists this strange opportunity for peace and well-being. The same hope that languishes beneath all the ills in Pandora’s Box lurks in the bowels of every monster -- and it manifests as an incitement to change. Instead of running from the monsters, we must pay attention. We must see them as auguries of more insidious beasts waiting to be born, slouching in the shadows and fattening themselves on our inaction and indifference. To slay our demons, we must face them. And then we need to do something different.

No more dusting off the pitchforks or firing up the torches or calling for heads or slamming shut the lid on Pandora’s Box. To starve out the monsters, we must destroy their sustenance: apathy, ignorance, fear. We must heal our society. We must take care of our infirm and unstable. We must rebuild our civilization by restoring our civility. We must strike a new social contract that ensures stability for all, not just the elite. It’s no longer an argument about too many or too few weapons. It’s no longer the province of politicians and interest groups. The howling of the monsters is no longer a signal for taking up arms – it’s a chilling annunciation that should be rousting us to unite in eradicating the desperation, dysfunction, despair, doubt and derangement that drives the need for them.

2015. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.

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