The Real Issue Behind the Mass Shootings

Janice K. Johnson

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What is Really Behind all the Mass Shootings?

Some people say it’s a mental health issue.

Others say it’s a gun issue.

doveWhat it is, is a political health issue. The real issue is about political dysfunction. Our political health in America is currently on life support. There’s an insanity, a deep illness, that is sweeping the country, that says loud and clear that violence and mass murder is an acceptable option for settling our disputes – that winning at any cost is a sign of strength. It’s about getting what you want, not doing the right thing.

Ukrainian PeasantWe even have a former president calling for civil war. The far right’s “replacement conspiracy theory” is inciting white nationalists to kill people of color, like we saw in Buffalo recently. Anti immigration rhetoric and the big lie are turning people inside out with an unjust and unjustifiable outrage.

There is a cynical, deliberate effort aimed at militarizing people, who increasingly are feeling left out. They are deeply disappointed the entitlements they were bread to expect are not, and never were, real or deserved.

These desperate people, motivated by fear of losing a control they never really possessed, are responding directly to the manipulations of our “leaders” in politics, religion and the media, on the right, who know how to push their buttons. People who desperately desire control are the easiest to control. And these desperate, fearful, lonely people are being systematically fed a line that says it is okay to use violence to achieve their aims. It is their right, indeed their duty, to use violence to achieve their aims.

It is cruel and cynical of these so called “leaders” to be exploiting this element in our society. And it is extremely dangerous. These trump sycophants are igniting a force, they know in their hearts, they cannot control. And the unholy marriage between the GOP and fundamentalist religion has added another level of zealous dogmatism to the lost cause of hate. The GOP has morphed over time to become a force that will eventually destroy itself, meanwhile taking others, like ourselves, those who understand that control is an illusion, down with them. So much hatred, so much pointless suffering because of an unwarranted fear of missing out (FOMA). The greater the fear, the harder they push, and the more marginalized and desperate they become. That is why we are seeing more and more mass shootings. The right is invested in making us believe it is a mental health issue. But these people are being driven to kill as a logical byproduct of a political movement based in hate. No amount of mental health services or gun controls will stop this force of evil.

boy washing hands

That is the real issue we need to address. But how? Trying to use reason and persuasion is futile. Using logic in a culture of faith and fierce loyalty to their “great leader” is a waste of breath. They have their own set of facts that are driving their movement. They use projection and have found a million insidious ways to discredit their “enemies.” Our problem is we don’t see them as enemies. We insist on referring to the far right as our opponents in some imagined fair fight. That train has left the station.

Now is the time to be bold. We need to trace the link between these heinous acts of violence to the powerful influence these political and media “leaders” are wielding like a sword to militarize the disenfranchised. The truth is, inciting violence is still a crime. Trump and Tucker Carlson and others need to be prosecuted for their crimes. We need to build a case that is legally solid and not back down. We must seize the narrative and take the battle to them. We must fight fire with fire. We must exert the control we all know at our core is an illusion, and fight the good fight until the scourge of hate has been completely neutralized.

The challenge is that those who recognize the problem, are not the most vocal and militant among us. We must develop a tolerance for conflict, for controversy, in the battle of ideas, in the cause for justice. This does not come naturally to the vast majority of Americans who know hate is not a solution but don’t feel comfortable rocking the boat. Our true power is in our numbers. Reasonable, compassionate, nonviolent people may not be as vocal, but we are greater in number. We can no longer afford to remain passive bystanders in this fight. We must stand up and make a case for democracy, before it is too late.



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