A tragic event took place in Aurora, Colorado last night during a midnight screening of the latest Batman flick. A lone gunman entered a packed theatre, and fired indiscriminately into the crowd, killing twelve and injuring fifty (including a three-month-old baby). In less than a week, three mass shootings have taken place. One was at a house party in Toronto, where gun-related violence is typically rare, and another in an Alabama bar.
Now, I may be wrong (and correct me if this is the case), but I feel as if our society has grown more violent over the last decade. While the US Census department shows a downward trend in violent crime, I don't feel these statistics accurately portray the reality of our situation. Violent crime in the US may be declining in numbers, but in brutality, absurdity, and sheer brazenness of the perpatrators, these abominable acts seem to progressively worsen.
We live in a state of perpetual paranoia. The media highlights these atrocities. From terrorism to rape, we are barraged by a steady stream of news stories detailing our own inhumanity. Amidst the terrors of wrought by the darker side our species, we desperately search for places to lay the blame. Are video games that allow us to act out violent fantasies to blame? Or is Hollywood at fault for glorifying violence? As a society, have we been desensitized to the point where a larger segment of our populace views murder as a lesser crime? It would be easier if these questions were at all answerable, but they aren't. There is no clear source of blame. There is no real reason.
The failing economy has created diseased culture of undirected anger, which has festered and bred a cesspool of ignorance, hatred, and violence. While most Americans struggle to make ends meet, there are those of us who have been pushed to mental limits far beyond those typically visited. Lack of financial stability has poisoned the well of our collective hearts. Desperation is apparent everywhere, and desperate acts are inherently violent (perhaps not always physically, but most definitely always emotionally). Although, this does not justify, rationalize, or excuse these heinous crimes.
I am sure over the next few days this tragedy will be politicized. Heated debates will breakout over gun-control laws. The right will go on the offensive, as will the left. We're in the middle of an election year, and, unfortunately, I've come to expect nothing less. It's disheartening to know that the deaths of the victims will be used as campaign fodder.
Today will be rather morose as I follow the story in hopes of understanding why someone would do something as awful as this. My thoughts go out to the victims. May they find solace in their faith, family, and friends.