Like the rest of America (and the world) I am mourning the horrific shootings Friday in Aurora, Colorado. And while there are many factors that likely contributed to this nightmare, two things stood out for me:
- It occurred at the premiere of a violent movie.
- It occurred in a country in which assault weapons are “legal”
What shocks me is that so much of the country acts as if these two facts are totally unrelated to this tragedy and the many before it (and the many that will continue unless we change our ways).
To my mind, if you go to violent movies, watch violent television, read violent books or play violent computer games you are contributing to the epidemic of violence in America. Worse yet, if you allow impressionable children to do any of these things you may be raising a kid like James Holmes.
Why do we pretend that the violent images we put into our brains – or worse the developing brains of children and adolescents – have no effect?
For the same reason we believe that the junk food and poisons (including carcinogens like sugar) we put into our body are “treats”, not the cause of most illness.
As Al Gore would say, these are “inconvenient” truths.
Inconvenient in that facing them would make us as individuals, and America as a country, have to change our ways.
Let’s not forget what the Second Amendment REALLY says: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
NOT assault weapons and 6,000 rounds of ammunition for a lone individual.
What did we think would happen when we broadened this definition? (And hey, thanks, Supreme Court, thanks a lot…)
Similarly, you can read news stories on the epidemic of obesity and the “health care crisis”. People give young children non-stop sugar, sugary drinks and fast food. Which is exactly what they feed themselves. Really, what do they think will happen?
I asked my friend Kay when she was working as a nurse in a hospital what percentage of patients were there due to either accidents or genetic disease and what percentage were there due to lifestyle. She said at least 75% lifestyle. My reading on the topic says that that is the low end. It’s more likely 85% or more.
But we pretend that taking our kids to see Batman or taking them to McDonalds are “treats” and not the genesis of thinking violence is okay and lifelong health problems.
In my mind, the most important question to ask in situations like Aurora, Colorado or the national obesity/disease epidemic is “Who benefits?”
Who benefits by lax gun laws in America? The NRA and the politicians they support. Not you and me.
Who benefits by the obesity/disease epidemic (they are one and the same): Big Food; Big Pharma; Insurance companies and the medical industry. Not you and me.
I’m sad about Aurora. But I’m also mad as hell. And I’m mad that Americans let themselves be duped by rich lobbyists and industries over and over again. It’s time to wake up and take back your lives. Protect your children. Or — expect more cause and effect. Because, if you ask me, it’s NOT unintended consequences. It’s basic cause and effect. Violence in equals violence out. Junk food in equals disease and death.