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Hot Lead in the Summertime By Jhantu Randall

Photo Courtesy of The LA Times

It’s the first week of August and we as a country have already experienced the trauma of 2 separate mass shootings within 13 hours of each other. The first, a Walmart inside a mall in El Paso, Texas and the other, a popular nightlife spot in Dayton Ohio. Images of both are being flashed across the screens as everybody falls into an all too familiar routine consisting of well wishes followed by arguments over the so called causes then a form of apathy and finally acceptance as we all quietly concede that we are all too disillusioned to discuss any of this rationally.

I’m not writing this to assign blame to any one circumstance, but rather, to dive deeper into the psychology of a broken and shattered society that appears to perpetually be stunted by a sense of shock that none of us can seem to shake. How is it after seeing images of a 21 year old entering a store armed with a semi automatic weapon, mow down an entire crowd, killing 20 and injuring many more and somehow just continue on with our day? Desensitized to the point where when another one occurs we don’t seem to know how to address it!

We have become completely complacent, whether due fear or apathy, it’s not hard to see that overall we are walking around lost. Instead of addressing the array of factors that make up the psychology of a mass shooter, we instead choose to focus on the so called influence of video games and other examples of violence in the media. Falling back onto the failed argument that has been disproven countless times over the last 20 years. For a minute let’s roll with that framing, if violent video games contribute to murderous behavior than how is it that every other country which sells the exact same games don’t seem to have this same epidemic? I wish there was an easy answer to this question, but to blame entertainment for it when the narrative of the country itself is built on the actions of the “Gangster” is completely disingenuous. Entertainment always becomes the scapegoat to avoid the fact that television and movies aren’t societies influencers, they’re the mirrors.

It’s the “All or Nothing” mindset that hinders any form of progress in the eyes of those who watch these predictable debates unfold. Granted taking guns out of the hands of the population isn’t the answer, although a majority of that scenario is completely fabricated as I can’t recall any politician who has openly stated all out disarmament, but that’s where the news media comes in. Depending on political affiliation shows where we get our news, with a system that is openly this divided nobody gets the same story. It’ll be the same event covered completely differently and its due to this that we as people aren’t even able to have a civil conversation. As long as political issues are covered in the same way sports are we will never find common ground as each side winning with their viewpoint now becomes the most important thing.

Thinking about the reality of the current state of the world is exhausting but if we all choose to collectively throw our hands up now then what are we even fighting for anymore?

Photo courtesy of Rueters