That's it. That is the culmination of our delicious daily drama. Our grandest headlines are now about felons blowing their brains out in a drawn-out crescendo of destruction, a grotesque spectacle that we, like Plato's puppeteers, hawk to our eager, frantic public.
Does that seem like the result of a sane society to you? Please, for the love of God, let's quit fooling ourselves. America has always been a little more than bloodthirsty, it's part of our charm; but this is obscene. This latest incident, the Maine shooting rampage, where the trickling stream of information was agonizing in its slowness, now culminates in the abrupt realization of the perpetrator's death.
And I sighed. Not in relief. Not in sadness. But in the profound, gloomy understanding that this rat race is on auto-pilot.
Yes. I'm angry. I'm cynical. But wouldn't you be when the world's descending into this cesspit of violence and madness while we stand by, scratching our heads in faux bewilderment?
Let me make this crystal clear: I have no sympathy for this shooter. Death is the least of what he deserves. But my anger isn't merely reserved for the gunman, as easy a target that may be for venting. No, my fury extends beyond the singular catalyst.
Fury at the groaning, gory machine that churns out these characters so regularly that we're almost desensitized. Fury at the broken, twisted system that fails to address the profound issues that play out in these psychotic melodramas – the undisputed merger of mental health issues and the right to bear arms, each acting like oil on the other's groin fire.
I'm not proposing we scrap the Second Amendment and abolish all privately-owned guns. That's absurd. But I'd be damned if we're not having an honest, mature conversation about it. Not the same tired, politically-charged drivel we constantly endure, but an earnest look at where we've come, where we are, and where the hell we're headed.
Rage bubbles at the state of our mental health system, at the crumbling, neglected infrastructure that should be capable enough to identify, help, and protect these lost souls – and their potential victims – before they break.
Anger simmers at the existence of a society that has glorified instant gratification and malicious cyber-culture over real experiences, genuine relations, and mental fortitude. A society that simultaneously shuns and exploits the disturbed, the depressed, the anxious. That tosses alcohol, drugs, porn, loneliness into the cauldron and expects a tasty stew.
I'm not even beginning to address the media's role in painting these shooters as some twisted celebrities, their names and faces prancing about in a grotesque dance of infamy on our screens. The quicker they learn to focus less on the monster and more on the victims, the better.
In conclusion, I'm pissed off. Pissed off that I have to write this. Pissed off that we're still having this discussion like an endless loop of purgatory. And if you aren't, ask yourself why the hell not.