mass violence active shooter scenario terrorist attack comes from my home state. I know, I know, we don’t even know what his motive was yet. Does the motive matter if the act serves to terrorize?
This time it’s a Planned Parenthood clinic. Like millions of women I have used services at a Planned Parenthood clinic. I would absolutely recommend them to any friend or family member in need of health care.
I’m running out of compassion. This shit has become so normal.
That scares me. That I might run out of tears to cry.
Colorado can be a strange place. It is home to some of the most conservative, fundamentalist, hard-line Christianists in the world. It is also home to some of the most compassionate, progressive, tolerant people in the world. And it is one of my homes.
Most of Colorado is so peaceful the police blotters consist of reports about cows in the road and deer in gardens and chipmunks at campsites. Most of the time the most dangerous thing is the potential for a skiing accident or driving on narrow mountain roads. Most of the time.
Colorado also produces some truly brutal and senseless terrorism. School shootings. Movies theater shootings. Health clinic shootings. WTF, Colorado? Quit making the news, please. I don’t want to be writing about you tonight, my beloved Colorado. It’s finals week. I want to be working on my term papers due in two days.
I posted a link about this on my Facebook this afternoon and have already had my butt jumped for calling it terrorism rather than a mass shooting. The argument goes that there has to be a stated political aim to call it terrorism. Bullshit. It serves to terrorize people, therefore it is terrorism. All violence has political aims of some sort. We can try to individualize it and down grade it all we want but we are only deluding ourselves by the attempt.
Violence is not about anger. Violence is about control. And control is always a political and cultural problem. Lots of people get boiling, hopping, erupting angry without using any violence. Lots of killers are unemotional and cold.
This hideous sight has been making the rounds on social media:
That’s right. Waterboarding is supposed to be funny now. Torture. It’s hilarious. Like rape jokes.
Have we no compassion? Are we so cynical that we laugh at this? Can we not see how finding torture funny plays into creating a culture where shooting up a doctor’s office is just another mass shooting? Have we had enough yet?
I’m so tired of crying. I have no tears left for Colorado. No tears even for my home.
I know why we only care about some violence. There is so much of it that we are numb. It’s compassion fatigue on turbo power. At least, I hope that’s why. I hope that we aren’t just heartless, cruel, self-serving narcissists.
I’m so tired of crying.
Please, please, please can we start addressing the roots of violence and conflict and hate. Please, please, please can we do something. The fate of the world depends on it.
I turned in a paper Wednesday on the Books of Job and Lamentations. First off, the professor likes to order me to smile in every email and I find that more than a bit problematic so it was my way of fighting back on a personal level. Second off, what could be more appropriate than Lamentations for today’s world? But I have no more lament in me.
Here’s the trillion dollar question: if we, here in the good ol’ US of A, saw on the news that this had happened in another country, that an armed, middle-aged man had gone into a health clinic offering well-woman visits and breast cancer screenings at the time (obviously premeditated with that much ammo and supplies) and shot a dozen people would we hesitate to call it terrorism? Would we bother to talk about his motives or try to distance ourselves with pleas to wait for more info? Would it matter if he had a vendetta against one person? Would it matter if it was a “domestic dispute?” Remember that lovely explanation about honor killings and domestic violence?
See, secretly we already know that all violence is political, that it’s about control, that even if we didn’t commit it we are part of the web that makes it possible. That picture with the elf? Imagine if instead of an action figure of a western soldier it was a brown-skinned man with a beard and a turbine. The people who claim it is funny would suddenly find it terribly offensive and threatening. Because it is. Because torture is always offensive and threatening. But if we pretend it’s funny we can distance ourselves and not have to deal with being responsible for living in a world where it happens to real human beings.
Because we are responsible. We don’t have to do it to be responsible for it. We’re born into a burning world–will we fan the flames and pour gasoline or will we grab buckets of water and shovels? Or will we pretend there is no fire because the flames haven’t touched us yet? Our tears aren’t enough to extinguish the fire, they won’t even soothe the burns.