Shots

*** I try not to get angry or political online. This is an exception to both. ***

I heard on the news this morning of yet another school shooting in the U.S., uncomfortably close to home. Reactions: horror at the news and a moment of terror when I heard it was an Oregon college, immediately supplanted by guilty relief that it was not my own home ground. Following close on the heels is the anger: At the person who would commit such an atrocity. At the lax gun laws, and the mindset that allows them, that enable someone such easy access to weapons of murder. At the mental healthcare, or lack thereof, that obviously failed this young man. At the helplessness I feel. Anger that all of this has been said before, and should not have to be said again.

Frustration at a media world that gives the perpetrators of these acts the attention they want. The media attention paid to the acts has definitely increased in the last few years (Case in point: I heard this morning about last night’s shooting on a South African news network, halfway around the world). Whether the incidence of such shootings has increased is a matter of debate, but it certainly seems like it has.

And last but not least, I am frustrated at the egotism of much of American society. I heard on a foreign news service about 11 Americans who were killed in an entirely domestic act of violence. Yesterday in South Africa, some 49 people were murdered; 300 people died of causes related to HIV/AIDs, in a country where more than 10% of the population is living with HIV, one of the highest infection rates in the world. But I didn’t know the latter stats until I sought them out, yet I hear of a few American deaths on the news.

It’s not that I regret hearing about the shooting. But that I, in a remote corner of South Africa, should still hear of American problems that have little meaning here instead of issues of real import to this community like corruption, violent crime, and HIV, frustrates me to no end.

But then, such shootings are meaningless and senseless even in the nation where they do happen. My heart is back home in Oregon for the day. Keep safe, dear ones.

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