Friday, December 4, 2015

The New Normal

Today is December 4.  It is the three hundred and thirty-eighth day of 2015.  This year is down to its final few days - twenty-seven in fact.  Twenty-seven.  

Wednesday, December 2 was the three hundred and thirty-sixth day of 2015.  In a Theatre of the Macabre version of "Double Play Wednesday", it was a day on which two separate mass shootings occurred within the geographical confines of these United States.  Early in the morning, in Savannah, Georgia, a gunman shot four people, killing his female victim and injuring his three male victims.    By lunchtime on the West Coast, however, the Savannah, Georgia incident was a mere blip on the news wire, having been subsumed by the ghastly news that a husband-and-wife shooting team (after first dropping their six-month-old baby at her mother's) executed fourteen people and injured a dozen and a half more at an office Christmas party hosted by the San Bernadino County Department of Public Health, which was the husband's employer.  

Hall-of-Fame football coach Bill Parcells was known for, among other things, his mantra that, "You are what your record says you are."   Application of the Parcells Principle to the reality of life in America in the middle of the twenty-first century's second decade is, to be blunt, pretty fucking terrifying.  

Through day's end on December 2, 2015, a/k/a "Day 336 of 2015", three hundred and fifty-five mass shootings have occurred in these United States.  Three hundred and fifty-five.  For you non-math minds reading this, approximately twenty more mass shootings than days in the year.  We now live in an America were "Multiple Mass Shooting" Day has muscled its way onto the calendar, alongside lunar cycles and religious observances.  What the fuck is wrong with us?  Whether the question is rhetorical or simply beyond my ability to answer, I know not.  It does not matter.  I know simply that I do not know the answer, which both infuriates and terrifies me. 

A "mass shooting" is defined, at least in some circles, as one in which there are at least four people shot, including the perpetrator.  Three people and under does not qualify as a "mass shooting".   Peruse this graphic at your leisure - it displays in calendar form, when 2015's mass shootings have occurred (or this one if geographical, rather than, chronological data is your preference).  Through December 2, 2015, by my math, there had been one hundred and twenty-seven "mass shooting free" days in 2015.  That means, of course, that (again using December 2, 2015 as our end date) there had been two hundred and nine days in 2015 on which at least one mass shooting had occurred.  

I do not pretend to be a smart man.  The scope and breadth of things about which I know nothing is essentially boundless.  However, it seems to me - as limited intellectually as I am - that when a nation has almost one hundred fewer "mass shooting free" days than it has days on which a mass shooting has occurred in a given year, making gluten the principal focus of what you excise from your day-to-day is a colossally absurd, make yourself feel good for no good reason, fucking waste of time.

As is, I would submit, doing nothing other than offering "prayers" for the victims, irrespective of the genuine, heartfelt nature of the gesture.   Here's a thought for all of you believers:  Let us consider for a moment that these incidents occur on a channel that God happens to be watching.  Maybe, just maybe, since proactive divine intervention as an action plan has yet to yield a good result, the Big Kahuna expects his signature creations to do more than genuflect.  Maybe, just maybe, the absence of such intervention is, in and of itself, a sign from God.

What the hell do I know?  I am after all merely an angry Agnostic.



No comments: