NO PHOTOS are in this post. Some of the links do have photos.
This morning, on live TV, a gunman by the name of Vester Flanagan, known as Bruce Williams on the air, show and killed a reported and a cameraman. Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were just 24 and 27. The woman Alison was interviewing, Vicki Gardner, is the sole survivor. She was shot in the back, but so far, is alive. Again, this happened live on the air, and happened so quickly that the attack was nearly over before someone was able to unfreeze and cut back to the studio, where viewers saw a stunned anchor in an understandable state of shock and disbelief.
As the cameraman fell, we could see the shooter standing above him, then aim the gun down at the cameraman. Flanagan took his own video, a literally first-person shooter video, which he uploaded and encouraged people to watch.
Flanagan later shot himself, and has ridded the world of his life.
This afternoon, on NPR, the US’s national public radio system, someone asked if this would finally get Congress to do something about gun-involved violence. (For those of you not in the US, what people are asking for is strict NATION-WIDE controls to lessen the chance of a criminal or mentally/emotionally unstable person being allowed to buy a gun or ammo. In Utah, MINORS can legally buy guns as long as they have permission from a parent…and I guess it’s impossible to forge a note….) The other person stated a mind-blowing truth: The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School changed literally nothing. Hundreds of staff and children went to school on the morning of December 14th, 2012, and six staff and a whopping TWENTY CHILDREN, little kindergarteners and first-graders, were dead by 10am, and the fucking government did NOTHING!!! Of COURSE a couple dead adult-victims and a third fighting for her life won’t matter….
But what about when a politician is the one who is shot? In 2001, Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head. Another eighteen people were shot. Six, including a child, died. Miraculously, Gabrielle survived. But no real change to the gun laws have happened. In fact, Arizona is the third most lenient state when it comes to gun-control laws.
What about if a president is shot? We’ve had 42 different presidents (the official count is 43 only because Grover Cleveland served non-cosecutive terms, making him count as both the 22nd and 24th). Of that few, four were assassinated. Almost 10% of our presidents were shot to death. And the only time a shooting made a difference was the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan in early 1981, where he was non-fatally shot, and an assistant, James Brady, was paralyzed. But all that happened ended up being nothing. The Brady Bill mandated background checks and a five-day waiting period. However, in 1997 the National Rifle Association argued that it was unconstitutional on 10th amendment grounds, claiming the federal government couldn’t mandate checks. Incredibly, the supreme court agreed, and all federal regulations were tossed out. So even when presidents are killed and more shot, STILL nothing happens.
America has become incredibly complacent when it comes to violence and death. By “America,” I mean our politicians. They won’t do anything. Those purchased politicians know who lines their pockets. While many will posture and claim, and a few will genuinely mean it, most of them will not do a single thing. Within a week, today will be known as “remember when those people were killed by that guy,” as the next tragedy happens. Alison and Adam are only known names today because their murders were aired live on American TV. But they will be forgotten by most, and we’ll all sit here, emotionally tired of begging the powers that be to DO something. All WE can do is write letters and pressure and hope for the best. In a political system where you have to have a lot of money to compete, where most of the competitors are the same, voting won’t have an effect. But our begging, and the faces of twenty little children, isn’t enough.
How can we expect domestic violence and rape to be treated as a big deal when “at least she wasn’t murdered”? Our politicians doing nothing but put on an act, and nothing changes for the safer or better. All the happens is another day passes, and another tragedy. Abuse and rape are small compared to murder. We are becoming desensitized to the “smaller” problems of abuse and rape, even though they happen to more people every day. And even today, the murders of two and attempted murder of another are only news-worthy because they happened live on television. We’re sick and tired of nothing happening, and have been through this so often that, as a nation, we’re becoming numb to is just to prevent ourselves from living in a state of perpetual grief. If we let it in each and every time, we’d so nothing but sit here sad. We can get angry, but nothing changes.
As a parent, I get to live with the non-stop nausea that my child’s in a country where violence and rape and murder is just business as usual. Today, Alison’s and Adam’s families and friends are grieving, and Vicki’s family and friends are hoping, praying, so all they can to beg for a recovery, because the previous murders led to more business as usual, and after today, it’ll be more business as usual. Another day, another name; another day, another name forgotten.