Monthly Archives: January 2014

School Shootings: 15 Minutes of Shame (Part 1)

Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech. Very few of you, if any, who are reading these names of these schools do not immediately know the terror and carnage associated with them. They, and many, many other schools have one main thing in common: school shootings. Each one of these incidents involved one or more sociopathic and psychopathic personality-laden individuals killing and injuring innocent and defenseless people. Each one of them also, made the headlines of every major news organization nationwide for a ridiculous amount of time and essentially were forced down the throat of the American populace for as long as the networks could pad their ratings with them. But the same questions linger in all cases: Why did this happen? Why are more and more people prone to gun violence against defenceless people? Why are more shootings occurring in schools and public places like movie theaters? What is causing the increase in massacres and the spilling of innocent blood?

While there are many reasons and many answers which can be applied to these questions and concurrently many answers which apply to each case individually and not the others, at least one thing seems to be common in all of them: mass media coverage. Each and every one of the most notorious cases of public massacres in recent years have been publicised to an alarming extent. Novels have spun out of the printing press, movies have been written, directed, filmed and sold exploiting the massacres in either a documentary format or in a horror/thriller film genre. Profits have soared and the dollars have piled up each and every time these disgusting tragedy befall our society, and we, the consumer, are eating them up like Stephen King novels.

We watch the train wreck as it unfolds, generally tuning in at the first mention of “shots fired” as it streams across the top of the page. We gorge ourselves on the carnage, feast on the feelings of the loved ones gathered in mass outside of the building fearful for those still inside, and drink up every drop of the tears shed. It fills us. It sustains us. All the while packing in the profits for the blood-thirsty media who, honestly, could not hope for a more rewarding story. We give infamy to the otherwise nobodies who perpetrate these horrendous crimes. We indulge and reward in their fantasies of gaining instant stardom. We reward them. We give them exactly what they were looking for: recognition, substantiality, and meaning.

Though you might not remember the names of the criminals now, you knew them well for two to four weeks of constant air time. You knew their faces. You knew their parents faces, their friends, their neighbors, and their hobbies. You read their journals and studied their habits. They were important to you. And, at the end of the day, you provided them, and the ones who follow, their reason for doing such a horrible thing.

Before I go on, I don’t want you to think that I am blaming you and you alone, there are some serious psychological issues going on with these disgusting excuses for people who perpetrate these types of inhumane and monstrous acts of violence. Also, there were warning signs in each and every one of these cases that were often willfully ignored and unreported which (if the right thing had been done) could have saved the lives of everyone killed. I, am also to blame, as I too was right there with you absorbing the chaos and padding the bottom line for the networks and Hollywood.  I bathed in the blood each day until i was drowning in it and, honestly and disgustingly, finally bore of it.

Do not think for one second that the hypocrisy of my writing here about how the media callously profits from these horrible tragedies and in-turn popularizes them to the point where it encourages more to follow has escaped; it hasn’t. I am fully aware of the mountain I have climbed and the pedestal on which I am now standing as I shout these words for you all to hear. However, my intent is not the same as theirs. Yes, the readers of my blog afford me certain income as my fan base builds and my readers indulge themselves on my tastefully typed telegraph, but I am also sounding the horn. Stop watching this disgusting play the networks are forcing into your homes before they help write the second act.

The unfortunate truth is that the media could not hope for a more profitable story, save for the occasional savory “Bill & Monica” style scandal. People tune in to see what has developed in the latest school shooting the way they tune in to see what happened last night on American Idol. And that is the problem: we are creating the incentive for the sociopath to execute such heinous acts against innocent people. We, the viewers, the ones who tune in and watch; we have blood on the tips of our channel-surfing fingers, and it is time we step up and start doing the responsible thing: tune out.

(Continued in Part 2, which discusses more about the history of school massacres and psychology behind the executors of these types of crimes)

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Resource Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States

http://listverse.com/2008/01/01/top-10-worst-school-massacres/

http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/schoolviolence/data_stats.html

Who’s head will roll?

Why is it that no one is fired by the president for the IRS scandal? Why was no one fired after the Black Panthers were not arrested for voter intimidation?

At least Chris Christie fired people for this scandal! If he is found to have known more about the issue and he gave the order, then that should be pursued further. Why should he be held to a higher standard than the president of the United States?

We need to stop caring what party a politician belongs to and judge them by their actions.

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The Era of Rudeness

There was a time, a time not too long ago, when people who were habitually rude were shunned and ostracized from polite society, a time when mothers told their children to show respect to other people, especially those in authority.  A time when fathers reminded their children, sometimes with corporal force, that rudeness was a quality not tolerated in the household.  This was a time when even shows on the television were sometimes booted off the air or never broadcast because the level of rude behavior was considered too much.  This time is for most, like a home cooked meal, a thing of the past. We are now the rude society, and we wallow in it. Our politicians wallow in it, our schools wallow in it, and our entertainers wallow in it.  When did this change occur and more importantly, why did this change occur?

As with most societal changes, clear beginnings are difficult to pinpoint.  Sometime in the great cultural revolution of the 1960’s a seed was sown.  Surely this seed was planted accidentally. No person or group of persons desired the outcome.  Just like nobody desired the housing market crash of 2008, it was just a consequence of certain forces set into play.  Do not mistake me.  There were many great ideas that came out of the 1960’s.  Vietnam really was a bad idea; other races should be treated fairly, we probably should not wreck the only planet we have been given, and others of that ilk are noble and honorable.  However, the same generation that gave us these benefits, gave us the shortcomings that are now manifesting themselves so viciously.

I hate to be cliché, but the baby and the bath water is highly applicable in this situation.  Instead of moderating the excesses of the time, the culture leapt to the opposite extreme.  Blind allegiance to authority is stupidity; Failure to respect any authority is anarchy.  This leads to people smashing in Starbucks windows in Oakland California and five-year old children speaking like Tony Soprano.  Finding your own way is important.  Thinking that your way is the only way, especially when you are operating on a worldview you developed in the eighth grade is preposterous. The fifties gave us McCarthy, but the sixties paved the way for people like Snooky believing they have a legitimate worldview.

Of course the 60’s was just the murky origin of this disastrous age.  You cannot hold the origin completely to blame for the eventual outcome.  At any point along the line, culture could have chosen to learn the valuable things the 1960s had to teach us, learn from the mistakes made, and move on.  Instead the circus continues.  Looking back you can see the pattern. It begins in the elite, on the fringe, people in controversial movies or in the lyrics of controversial music making statements that most people find distasteful, people treating each other in ways that would be completely out-of-place in the normal world.  Soon it finds its way to television and the radio.  Not very long after that it is in the office, and then on Capitol Hill, and then at your dinner table.  It wasn’t so long ago that people would have marched in an angry mob on the producers of some of the most popular shows on television.  It wasn’t that long ago, that people were actually insulted by music that constantly refers to women as “bitches” or advocates mindless slaughter of large groups of people.  It wasn’t that long ago that Miley Cyrus would now be out on the street trying to figure out where things went wrong. (just an example)

In the end our society, and most of us bear part of the collective guilt, decided not to stop this progression.  Maybe we are okay with the way things turned out…somehow, I doubt it.

-Red Eagle

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