Friday Night Think Tank: What The Hell Is Going On???

Doc BrownIt’s Friday, Modern Philosophers.

I’m glad the work week is over because my head is filled with Deep Thoughts, and even Deeper Questions, and I just need some time to process them.

While I try to keep the mood in the Think Tank light and humorous, tonight things are going to be serious and somber.

If you can’t handle that, I totally understand.  This is supposed to be a phi-curious humor blog (that’s short for “philosophy curious”, in case you were wondering), and you will be excused without a mark on your permanent record if you need to sit out this one.

If you’re ready to get your Deep Thoughts on, toss around ideas, and ask some questions that really need answering, meet me out in the Think Tank.

This week’s topic:  There was another school shooting yesterday, this time in Oregon.  Why does this keep happening?  Why can’t such incidents be stopped?  Are we doing anything to make our schools safer?  Is anyone else sick of feeling like this sort of thing has just become part of the American way of life?  What else is on your mind about this topic?

flagI was at work when someone mentioned the shooting.  Of course, the first thing I needed to know was where it occurred.  While I don’t want it happening anywhere, there is something oddly comforting in knowing it didn’t happen close to where I lived, or where anyone dear to me lives.

Is that bad?  It doesn’t make the incident any less tragic, but I like to cling to this foolish idea that I’ve found a little piece of the country where bad things like this never happen.

I guess I’m trying to find the silver lining.

My heart skipped a beat on the way home when he news came on the radio.  I was listening to Stephen King’s station, and my neighbor TJ does the top of the hour report.  TJ began with the shooting and said something like “There was another school shooting today, this one in Or-e…”

And that was when I momentarily freaked.  The University of Maine is located in Orono, so when those first two syllables came out of TJ’s mouth, I thought he was announcing that there had been a shooting just twenty minutes from The House on the Hill.

BrainIt just boggles my mind that this keeps happening, Modern Philosophers.  Is it because there is no way to control it?  There has to be, right?  There are metal detectors and security personnel at these schools, correct?  Do we need to add more of them?

I know that mentioning stricter gun control policies will upset some people, but we are here to talk out this problem.  I know the argument about how guns don’t kill people, but would yesterday’s shooter have left so many bodies behind without his guns?  I just read that he had six guns on him, and maybe seven more at home.

Who needs thirteen guns?  How does a person walk into a school wearing a flak jacket and armed with six guns without anyone noticing? Where is the breakdown in the system?  How do we keep our students safe?  When does the madness end?

Why do people go on shooting rampages?  Why does killing innocent people seem to be such a popular activity?  Does the coverage each shooting gets make it more appealing?  Should we play down these incidents in the media?  Should they never release the name of the shooter so there is no “glory” associated with the heinous act?

Every night when I go to bed, I say my prayers.  I ask whoever is responsible for listening to my prayers to make the world a safer, more peaceful place.  I specifically request that there be no more senseless acts of violence like school shootings.

What the hell is going on, Modern Philosophers?  Why our country like this?  Is there anything we can do to make it stop?

I know that I only asked more questions, and didn’t come up with any real answers, but that’s because I just can’t wrap my brain around all this.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones…

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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55 Responses to Friday Night Think Tank: What The Hell Is Going On???

  1. Josh Wrenn says:

    I know one way. We can quit referring to evil as mentally ill, and we can dial down the hateful rhetoric.

  2. Great post with some important questions raised.

    I watched the news as it broke yesterday and I was just horrified! As the POTUS said in his speech, doesn’t this feel like it’s becoming “routine”? I live in the UK where gun laws are in place and I cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone would oppose them. We don’t have news stories like this running every few months in our country, so isn’t that proof that they work on some level?

    I noticed that the Sheriff at the scene had reportedly said that you can control gun laws but you can’t control evil, as if that’s a reason not to have them in place… Again, lets reiterate, every country has people suffering from mental illness but we don’t all provide them with easy access to weapons, they might still cause harm but less harm, likely. Obama’s speech was brilliant and he was right, there needs to be a change.

    Just my opinion, I know that people will disagree and that’s fine, that’s the beauty of opinions 🙂

  3. A says:

    I don’t believe there is any one answer to stop this madness. I don’t think stricter gun control laws are the answer. I don’t think we can “make it stop” any more than we can make child rape or bank robberies or drug trafficking stop. I, like you, do not understand how a student can enter a school with six guns unnoticed. Somebody missed something there. I think these children who become shooters have been passed over by far too many people for far too long. There are always signs that these children are distressed, clues that they are going to act out, something to indicate that intervention is needed. First and foremost, I think parents need to be held responsible in many ways. Take the time, no matter how hard you work or how exhausted you are or how resistant your child is, to KNOW your child. Also, make the effort to KNOW if there are weapons in your home, and if you are the one buying them… KNOW how to secure them from your child/children. You are the adult, BE the adult.

    You’ve inspired me, Austin… I think I’ll keep having deep thoughts about this over on my blog space – Condolences to all affected by this tragedy.

    • Austin says:

      I’m glad I’ve inspired you. Just wish it was one of my sillier topics that as the cause.

      Thank you for sharing your Deep Thoughts on this…

  4. Thank you for posting about this, Austin

    Whenever I hear about one of these shootings, I think about Springfield. This time, that struck me even more when I found out it was UCC in Roseburg, not that far south from Springfield and Eugene.

    I still have an Oregon license all the way out here in Georgia, and the cashier said how sorry she was about the shooting, and if I was from there. I didn’t know what to say except numbly that I’m from farther north. I still don’t know what to say…

  5. floridaborne says:

    Sorry to do this to you, Austin. If you don’t want to read the rest of what I’m writing, and prefer to delete this reply, I’ll understand. It’s fairly harsh, and from the perspective of a person raised in a different time in our country’s history.

    I am appalled at the fact that the teachers we trust with our kids do not have access to the very thing that would STOP a shooting before it happens. I was raised with the concept of individual responsibility, and the reasons why you NEVER give up to a government your power to defend yourself.

    There is no such thing as safe. We can walk out our door, trip over the front step and break our necks. That’s the first thing we have to internalize. The second is that all of us have the responsibility to know how to defend ourselves and the right to own the guns that will help us do it. That gift was given to us by our nation’s founders. It’s called the 2nd amendment.

    This is a violent world, and for the population of a country to be unprepared for the violence from criminals, extremists, or a tyrannical government is to invite violence to our doorsteps. It’s like putting a sign on the front lawn saying “We don’t have any way to protect ourselves and we don’t fight back.” With zero tolerance, That’s exactly what we’ve done with our schools.

  6. Those more articulate than me have stated my thoughts. I am older, so I fear I don’t have an answer to today’s miseries. To me the murderer killing himself after making some “statement” is the idiot’s way out. The chicken’s way out. And that’s all murderers are. Those too weak to make sense out of nonsense. Keep strong, everyone.

  7. Sad that it happens, even sadder that nothing has changed with the stand on guns after so many shooting incidents. It’s a crazy world, with crazy people and the ban on guns should be seriously considered. But that’s my opinion.

  8. nolanwrites says:

    It was truly heartbreaking to hear another school shooting had happened. I come from a country where even our police force don’t carry guns. Even to carry your own forearm in Ireland is not permitted. It’s seriously scary to think that it seems to be happening more and more often in America.

  9. markbialczak says:

    We need a lot of things to get better, Austin, including our ability to Identify and attempt to help all troubled kids as early as possible. I’m just sad and horrified at the havoc and tragedy the lowest in our society can so easily pull off, again and again and again. It seems as if our society is losing that right to bear arms that the forefathers wrote into the Constitution. Too many citizens use them for ill and evil tidings to innocent people. It’s a tough issue, for sure. But the killings cross the line in every way.

  10. The rest of the western world’s civilisation seems to manage just fine without guns. Why can’t Americans? All we see in the global media about your country is bomb, shoot, riot. How do people sleep easy at night with a gun under their pillow or metal prowling the streets? I’m not sure why it is that the U.S. thinks about this ever present threat differently. As long as this continues you will keep waking up to mass shootings, race war & police brutality. It’s shocking but I can only assume most Americans can accept no change on the basis of “thank god it wasn’t near me and my kin.” There’s almost no point in wasting breath on the issue as nothing will ever change. Sorry to say it straight, but it’s true. I wish it could be different.

  11. AthenaC says:

    I think the “why” is a few generations of PTSD, beginning in an era where women and children had no options but to put up with it (resulting in them becoming broken themselves), exacerbated by a culture that worships masculinity (i.e. “deal with it like a MAN” rather than prioritizing mental and emotional health), and nothing done to stop it except blame women for having the audacity to want other options in life (i.e. feminism). So basically the only thing we’ve done to stop it has nothing to do with the actual cause and so is (surprise!!) 100% ineffective.

    THOSE are the conditions that breed violent, broken people, and no amount of gun control laws will fix that. The only recourse is for more people to be aware, alert, and able to defend themselves. Yes, it would be nice if we didn’t have to live in a world where innocent people are charged with a responsibility they shouldn’t have to have, but that’s not the world we live in.

    And that’s my straight, tough talk for the night.

  12. grannyK says:

    I know some people who are now teaching their kids at home and with online schools because of all of this madness. It is terrifying! I think back to my own childhood and how safe it was to be at school and to roam the neighborhood all day long with friends. We never worried about all of the crap that happens now! I’m sure it did happen, but it was rare. Very sad times.

  13. donedreaming says:

    Isn’t the saying ‘people kill, not guns’? We have our fair share of troubled people in the UK who feel the need to be violent but generally being unable to get their hands on guns means the loss of life is much less. With a knife in their hands they may get one victim while the rest have a chance to run or reach for something to retaliate with. People kill, but you don’t have to make it so easy for them ..

  14. Oh where to begin. I think I pissed off some 2nd Amendment aficionados on Facebook earlier by saying I hesitated to argue with somebody who had a gun in his hand. Obviously people kill and can use many means, but a gun kills more people faster and more efficiently. How about treating guns like cars: Get a license after demonstrating some minimal competence? The argument that criminals will not obey laws is foolish. Most people ignore speed limits, but most states still have them.
    But what I really wanted to address was your relief that it was not close to you. This is a natural reaction. In fact, I did have a shooting happen in the little villages I live in. He started in Mohawk by setting a fire, shot some people there, then went on to Herkimer, ended up holed up in an abandoned building two blocks from where I live. I did not take my dog for a walk that day, but I don’t know that I felt any better about, say, Columbine. Obviously I would feel even worse if I actually knew anybody shot.
    Oh dear, I don’t think I have any deep thoughts to contribute. I’m feeling very discouraged about the whole thing. I only scrolled down and read this post because I couldn’t bear to read about your Saturday run when I have been apparently unable to run myself. Maybe I’ll arrow back and read an earlier post…

  15. Pingback: What Can We Do To Stop School Shootings | Sidereal Catalyst

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