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I write these words in an agony of urgency.  Already this year, 2019, there have been 31 mass shootings in the USA; more than in any other nation.  Over half of these have been in the state of Texas.  At what is only temporarily the most recent crime scene, in Odessa, one of the victims was 17 months old. The gunman shot the infant in the face.

How and why have we come to value the gun more than life?  How and why to equate the gun with patriotism and accept the gun as the symbol of contemporary America?

War begets war, violence begets violence.  Politically we are a war making nation.  Culturally, ours is a culture of violence.  The blow back wind, as bloody social pestilence, breathes malignantly along city streets, across public places.  Who holds the power that dictates, “This is what is, and this is how it will continue to be?”  Who is responsible; who without responsibility?  Why?

Every time there is a mass shooting, motivated by the politics of prejudice and hatred, and by self-appointed vengeance, decency and democracy are shot down.  Ordinary folk are murdered in their everydayness while special interests (those who gain the most from war and violence) maintain prestige in their positions of power and profit.

Ask yourselves as I am asking: How have we come to this place, on the near side of hell and madness; where the general public momentarily stirs from sleepwalking normalcy, atrocity by atrocity, before falling again into hypnotic and impotent sleep?  No doubt this contributes to the malaise of simmering frustration and humanitarian decline. But there are alternatives.  Waking up, taking unified action and demanding accountability are essential to change.

Dr. Martine Luther King, Jr. had a dream, a dream still waiting to become the reality of racial equality and justice under law, regardless of race, gender or economic status.  Mahatma Gandhi chose the lowly spinning wheel of home industry over the emblems of empire, brutality, and dehumanization.  Both King and Gandhi prescribed unconditional love as the strength of moral character and as the touchstone of engaged citizenship.

Where are we now, we who await being nextat the next pornographyof bullet holes?  How and when do we emerge from this nightmare ofmass murder that we have stumbled into accepting and empowering?  How many more of us will be targets before the outcry “Enough is enough” is a guardian principle of reality and changes are achieved to reconstruct sanity and for the sake of life?

Whose eyes, do you think, are most watchful of the horror’s accelerating repetition? Certainly, those of the world. That is disgrace.  More certainly, those of our children. And that is sin.

David Sparenberg is a world citizen, environmental & peace advocate & activist, actor, poet-playwright, storyteller, teacher and author.



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