I usually agree with Orlando Sentinel columnist Darryl Owens, his human interest stories are heartfelt and insightful but this one is tinged with an apocalyptic tone, a view becoming increasingly part of the public’s psyche.
In all fairness to his point, Owens’ sets down his argument in order to criticize the accessibility of guns in our nation and the monolithic power of the NRA, arguments I agree with. Yet, his doomsday attitude that guns and mass killings are the “natural course of things” heightens our primal fear that as a whole, humans are increasingly less safe from each other.
I’m not naive to factors behind the mass shootings at Virginia Tech, Arizona, Columbine and now Colorado, although I won’t point to easy gun access as the primary cause, but rather as one of many enablers. The deranged ingenuity of a patient madman pulls the trigger, even in a gunless land.
The randomness of who dies in these events magnifies our sense that it will happen again. Vulnerable to the cherry picking of chaos, we now sense it at every street corner. Natural disasters, even the erratic, less easily predictable ones like earthquakes and tornadoes don’t evoke the same level of primal uncertainty as mass shootings, despite the fact that they take more lives over a year.
It’s because Mother Nature, even though she’s also a ticking time bomb, doesn’t take gleeful aim — the Joker does.
She doesn’t wait outside a theatre to pop off people as they run scared. Her destruction is without macabre planning, it’s born of perfect storms and climate patterns. When she destroys, she doesn’t celebrate her celebrity and boobytrap apartments.
After the tragedy of Colorado, we have one more place to make us nervous, “even movie theatres aren’t safe” the public announces. In time we’ll forget the image of sitting in a movie theatre with our family as a madman shoots, but for now, we’re right there pushing our six-year-old to the floor, ducking a spray of bullets.
Time dilutes mental horrors unless the media insists they will happen again and again and again as Sentinel Darryl Owens does when he writes that the Colorado tragedy was “the natural course of things.”
And yes, public massacres at the hands of the insane have occurred over history, only now we see them as they happen and with images plastered everywhere, all the time.
Overexposure to tragedy without the counter argument of optimism (I know, not the stuff of news outlets) breeds an artificially heightened sense that the scales of good over bad has tipped against our favor.
The natural course of things is this: more good happens in the world than bad.