Another day, another mass shooting. Such is what life seems to be like for the everyday American citizen.
My question is...how the hell did it come to this?
2016 has been one of the toughest years for shootings in the United States. It almost seems as if they average one or two a day. The latest took place the night of July 7, 2016 in Dallas, Texas where a peaceful protest for Black Lives Matter turned deadly following a sniper attack which saw twelve people shot - five fatally.
All the victims of the shooting were police officers.
It was a blatant message offered by the sniper - who I refuse to name in this piece. The shooter targeted law enforcement (specifically those of Caucasian origin) in response to a pair of shootings in which two men of African-American origin were shot and killed by police. In one case, the aftermath of the shooting was livestreamed through Facebook and broadcast all over the six o'clock news - which in itself is disturbing, and I will have a lot more to say about that later.
But let's talk a little bit about the idea of protesting. I have absolutely nothing against a peaceful protest. In fact, I would actively campaign to join protests if the end result meant a happier and safer world for all of us to grow up in. And on the night of July 7, 2016, the protest march was a peaceful one with everyone marching in solidarity and police officers doing their duty to make sure that no violence took place. Little did the officers know that for some of them, it would be the last night they would ever experience.
The sniper is no hero. He is a coward. He chose to use violence to speak out against violence. It's the classic proverb in action of two wrongs never making a right. And what we're left with are five families completely torn apart. A police district in mourning. An entire city trying to come to grips with what happened. And a country that adds yet another scar to its already broken and bruised body following similar shootings in San Bernardino, California, Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Orlando, Florida.
So, how do we fix this? I asked myself the same question when I talked about Orlando, and to be honest with you, I don't know. Again, I don't think banning firearms is the right answer. With some people, the more you tell them not to do something, the more determined they are to do it. And besides, I don't see anything wrong with RESPONSIBLE people owning one or two firearms. I do feel that more should be done to prevent unstable people from getting access to them, but I wouldn't know the first thing about how to enforce it.
But I do know a couple of things that we can all do.
First of all, a message to everybody in the world. It doesn't matter what colour of crayon you associate with the most, be it black, white, peach, sepia, tan, blue, or purple mountain's majesty. Every colour in the crayon box has its importance, just as every colour of person has their importance. So, let's stop with the "this person's colour life is more important than that colour's life" garbage, because to me, that is all it is. If we're going to coin a hashtag phrase worthy of retweeting, make it #LoveMatters.
Secondly, I am getting so annoyed at the media constantly throwing these videos and images on the air at all times just to evoke a reaction in the name of ratings. It almost seems as though the people who are responsible for these shootings are trying to make a name for themselves so that they can go down in American history for making a stand. The problem is that they make their stands in ways that deliberately hurt and damage innocent people. That completely nullifies any of their arguments and therefore should not be celebrated. And yet, the media takes these events and not only broadcasts them live on television, but put their own political spins on the matter - which again seems incredibly inappropriate and voyeuristic.
Seriously, I really don't want to see the video where the man is shot by a police officer and we see him drawing his final breaths in front of a cell phone camera that is filming him on Facebook. What kind of world do we live in where seeing a man get shot and killed on live social media is not only acceptable, but treated with such nonchalance? I found it absolutely horrifying, and I think that any television station that aired the video on their news broadcast is absolutely shameful. As far as I'm concerned, the news stations are not doing anything to combat the problem. They're actually encouraging it! It's probably why at 6 o'clock, I'd rather watch a rerun of "Full House" on Netflix than get depressed watching news like this.
I also find it incredibly sickening how some of the politicians in America are handling these tragedies. When you have a presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and both of them appear to be using these shootings as a way to win votes, it makes me realize why so many Americans will be incredibly perplexed when they go to the voting stations this upcoming November. Both of them seem to have a lot of opinions about what they want to see done, but neither one of them seem to have an interest in unifying the country in order to do it. Again, that's shameful. And, don't think that my disgust is limited to presidential candidates either. I can think of a lot of congressmen and senators who are just as guilty of using their personal beliefs to stir the American melting pot into a bubbling stew of instability.
Now, I get that some of you might be reading this and thinking that I am somehow anti-American. Truth be told, that cannot be further from the truth. Despite everything that has gone on, I still see some goodness in the United States, and I love every single one of my American pals who are growing just as frustrated and angry as my Canadian friends over the constant tension between various groups of people.
Enough with the division. Enough with the anger. Enough with the bullets. The Star Spangled Banner is turning into the Scar Spangled Banner, and things need to stop. Right now, all eyes are on the United States, but the sad thing is that events like this could happen in any country. Just have a look at France, Belgium, Turkey, and even Iraq. All countries that have been subjected to meaningless violence over the last year.
The world doesn't need any more fear, violence, hatred, or pain.
The world doesn't need any more fear, violence, hatred, or pain.
I believe Jackie DeShannon sang it best in 1965. What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of.