I’ve been writing a lot lately, it seems, about gun violence, school shootings, mass shootings, et al.  Violence in America seems to be the overriding theme of late.  On Sunday, I reported on three mass shootings that took place on Saturday.  Today, I’m sad to tell you that there were three more on Sunday, taking another 5 lives and injuring 7 more people.

  • St. Louis, Missouri – 2 killed, 2 injured
  • Newark, New Jersey – 1 killed, 3 injured
  • Frostburg, Maryland – 2 killed, 2 injured

I’m sure many useless ‘thoughts and prayers’ have been conveyed by legislators around the nation.

But it isn’t only gun violence, though that is the sort that gets the most attention, for an AR-15 assault rifle can mow down hundreds of people within a minute or two, and guns are the scourge of this nation, but other forms of violence have been duly noted this past weekend.

There was the case of the homeless man, Jordan Neely, murdered on the subway in New York City by a complete stranger who thought choking him to death was the answer to the homeless man’s mental health crisis.  And then, there was Brownsville, Texas, where the driver of an SUV plowed into a group of migrants at a bus stop, killing eight people and injuring at least 10 others.  Why?

The details are irrelevant to this conversation, but the why question is the point.  Whether guns, a chokehold, a vehicular attack, or just a verbal confrontation in a store … WHY is the United States plagued by violence?  WHY do we feel unsafe going into a grocery store, a church or mosque, a mall, or a movie theater?  I only go about once a month to our local Barnes & Noble bookstore, and I feel relatively safe there, for most gun nuts have less than zero interest in reading books, but even there I once saw a man bend over to get a better look at a magazine and the gun sticking out of his waistband terrified me to the point I set my books down and left the store … after informing the manager.

WHY do some in this nation think it is okay to take the life of another?  WHY do we resolve our differences through violence rather than trying to find a middle ground?  Let me ask you to ponder something … is your life worth more than, say, a homeless person living on the streets, begging for a bite of food?  If so … WHY?  Because you earn more money in your job?  Because you own (or rent) a home?  Because you know you won’t starve to death tomorrow?  Does that really increase your value?  How?  Do you know for a fact that if that homeless person had been given the opportunity, he might not have gone on to … oh, I dunno … maybe find the cure for lung cancer, or a way to take the CO2 out of the atmosphere, or … become president of the United States?

Just think, my friends, what might have been if … if circumstances had been different for you.  What if … your parents had died when you were young, leaving you to figure out how to survive on your own.  What if … you couldn’t afford to even finish high school, let alone get a college degree?  What if … you were struggling with a drug dependency, or other mental health issue?  Would you want someone to take a moment out of their life to help you, or would you deserve to simply be shot, choked, or run over?

My late mother-in-law, one of the kindest people I ever knew, used to often say, “There, but for the grace of god, go I.”  We would roll our eyes and tease her, but of late I’ve come to better understand.  No, I don’t believe in the “grace of god” but … were it not for some set of circumstances, there we might all have ended up, with ‘there’ being homeless, a stranger in another country, poor, or just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The level of everyday violence in the United States is more what I would expect in a third-world nation, not an industrialized, wealthy, and supposedly civilized one.  It seems the first response to some insult, real or imagined, is to react violently.  WHY???  Have we lost our humanity?  Do we no longer see others as worthy of respect, but rather an object on which to take out our own frustrations?  Has the easy access to guns contributed to making us more violent in general?  Has the political turmoil and divisiveness turned us into barbaric people?  Are people like Ron DeSantis, Donald Trump, Greg Abbott and more, constantly putting down migrants and LGBTQ people, telling people to “fear other”, having an effect on our low level of tolerance for those who are somehow different than us?   Rather than embracing diversity, are we simply killing it?

Most importantly, how can we regain our humanity as a nation, as a people?  How do we learn to try to understand other viewpoints that may not agree with our own, or to have empathy for those less fortunate than we are?  If we fail to do so, we are dooming ourselves and our future generations, for this cannot continue without serious consequences.

How many will die today because of fear and intolerance?

28 thoughts on “WHY???

  1. We no longer have leaders setting good examples of humanity, empathy, and sympathy. Instead, we have racist rhetoric, selfishness, entitlement, and greed. Jealousy, xenophobia, religious intolerance, and hatred. These messages are passed down from many world leaders and influential politicians, especially in the US and UK, and eventually some people come to believe that this is the way to think and behave.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right about that. It also seems, though, that people are less tolerant, that they are excited by people like Trump, DeSantis, Greene and others who are loud, raucous, and bigoted. It’s as if … they were just waiting for someone to verify their own bigotry. And to think, I used to be called a “cockeyed optimist” and even a “Pollyana”.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, sad, but good post. To one of your key points, we do not know where innovation will occur and who will drive it. The second place winner in a national science competition was a homeless girl a couple of years ago.

    Also, people in poverty tend to give a higher percentage of their income to people in need than wealthier people do. I am reminded of a homeless young teen whose parents did not know she was volunteering at the food bank. This was at an agency I volunteered with.

    I am reminded that people in poverty are as pious or more so than those who help them from churches and synagogues. Their faith is sometimes all they have.

    We need leaders to strongly condemn these we/ they divides and especially not promote them. There are too many folks with guns that believe their BS. Just because someone is a minister does not mean they cannot be full of it. I have seen and worked with many wonderful ministers and church people, but not all live up to the ideals they quote.



  3. I must admit that implies also for my home-land (Germany). We have from time to time also such shootings (or attacks with knifes) and as well also rarely deadly attacks by crazy Islamists, but in general I feel very safe in the streets. In the USA the weapons lobby has an absurd powerful impact and influence on politics, such grave stupidity hardly to be understood for people from abroad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I have another German friend who says much the same. More and more states here are getting rid of what few gun laws they actually had. A permit? No need. Concealed carry? Sure, why not. I’ve seen pistols sticking out of men’s belts more than a few times in restaurants and grocery stores. WHY??? Why carry a gun unless you’re expecting trouble? Sigh. Strict federal gun laws that are rigidly enforced is the only solution, but our members of Congress take millions of dollars every election cycle in exchange for voting down any … and I mean ANY gun laws. I would definitely feel safer in Germany than here.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love in a third world, poor country and we may have other problems but this sort of gun violence is very very rare. Here we have so many problems of survival that going out and senselessly killing people is not a thing people want to do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • In your country, you have to focus on what’s really important … food, water, shelter … the essentials. Perhaps part of our problem in the U.S. is that the majority of people no longer have to worry about those things, so instead they seek a … boogeyman, for lack of a better word … someone who must be responsible for whatever didn’t go quite as they had hoped in their lives. And typically that is anyone who doesn’t look, act, think, and speak quite like them. And then there is the readily available gun so that they can act on their hatred. Sigh. In many ways, the U.S. IS a third-world country … we just haven’t awakened to it yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As many will die as there are intolerant people who feel theirs is the right to take an innocent life by whatever means they choose. Unfortunately your Countrty seems to have so many more than anyone else.You have to feel you have some value in life but You cannot place your value as higher than anyone elses.

    Liked by 2 people

    • But why is such intolerance, such cruelty toward people, on the rise? What makes a person feel superior because of his skin colour, religion, or gender identity? I’m just truly puzzled by all this. And as a part of it all, a part I didn’t mention in the post, there is also a rise in Naziism, in those who now see Adolf Hitler as some kind of a ‘good man’. Has global warming cooked peoples’ brains? Sigh. I’m tired … tired of it all … tired of watching this nation destroy itself from within and being completely powerless to make a difference. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The only ones who see Hitler in a good light are those who want to validate their own views and don’t want to be regarded as he currently is. But what ever changes in that respect, the truth can’t. He was an evil mass murderer then and will remain so.. As for Naziism being on the increase, it’s because more people hope to get away with what the Nazis did. Power over people, the fear they could induce. They’re cowards hoping Naziism will allow them to get away with their killing black people. They’ve been taken in by all the tales of white superiority.
        It must be hard to cope when you live amongst it. Keep shouting out, people hear you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re quite right … facts are facts, and the reality is that Hitler was among the most evil of men ever on the face of the earth. But … more and more, we are whitewashing history, and it seems some believe that Jews are actually the scourge of the earth and Hitler was doing the world a favour. Yes, some people actually believe that!!! I’m … stunned. Black people, Jews, atheists, LGBTQ people, and even women are the “enemy of the people” in the eyes of some, it would seem, and Naziism plays right into their hands. It is hard … far too many days I just don’t want to be here anymore. I’m trying, Cariad, but I’m not sure people are listening anymore.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. If I may rephrase your question, Jill:
    WHY DO REPUBLICANS AND LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE FEEL IT IS OKAY TO PREACH VIOLENCE, TO PREACH GUN OWNERSHIP, TO FIGHT AGAINST BANNING FIREARMS AND GUN LICENCES, ETC? Why is it okay for people to look down on others, to hate those who are different just because they are different? Different race? Different colour? Different sex? Different gender? Different religion? Different nationality? Different political views? Different areas where they live? Different lifestyles? Different jobs? No jobs? No home? No car? No whatever? Different however? WHY ARE PEOPLE ALLOWED TO GET IN OTHER PEOPLE’S FACES?
    While there are as many answers are there are grains of sand on Waikiki Beach, the one reason that stands out above all others in 2023 is that in 2017 Donald J. Trump made it okay to express hatred and to be violent! He did not start hatred, or violence, but he preached both, and he said it’s okay to express those feelings, and to act according to those feelings. Now the whole Republican Party preaches them too!

    Just by-the-bye, I left home at 16 to get away from a physically abusive father (sexually abusive to my sisters) and I was homeless off and on for years after that. I have many people to thank for helping me along the way, until at the age of 57 I graduated from university with a Bachelor of Social Work degree. Who knows what I might have been like or where I might be today if I had not survived without all that help! And every little bit helped, no matter how small.

    I was beat up, spat upon, looked down upon, but I survived. And that was in the 60s and 70s when most people were nice. I cannot even imagine what it would be like being homeless in these post-Trump times! Or being Indigenous! Or being poor! Etc. Etc. Etc.

    I think post today connects very well with your post. Great minds do think alike!

    Liked by 1 person

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