Try as I might, I cannot feel empathy with America, or Americans. It’s true that when I return to Britain for a vacation it feels good to return to the US. I have no home in Britain anymore, so being back in my own house gives a certain feeling of security; belonging.
I expected to acclimatize to the differences in culture, particularly after eleven years in the US, but I’m resigned now that such will never be the case. It was brought home to me again, as it so often is, by the evening CBS news broadcast.
One might have expected the news program to lead with the shooting at a school in New Mexico. It didn’t. Instead, anchor Scott Pelley flaunted his arrogance by showing a video of an air accident that occurred five months ago in which a young Chinese girl was killed.
Pelley was quick to make much of this as a “CBS exclusive” – the video having been filmed from a fireman’s helmet as they attempted to douse the blazing Asiana airliner at San Fransisco airport – stating that the parents of the girl were using the video as evidence to sue the airport authority.
Is this a measure of the American mind, I asked myself, that some legality over a five month old accident is more important than a kid shooting up a school with a shotgun? Or, has this type of horrific incident now become so commonplace as to not be newsworthy?
Eventually, CBS did get around to mentioning this latest school shooting. A twelve year old boy walked into school with a shotgun, wounded one girl in the arm and an eleven year old boy in the face. The girl is “in a serious condition” in hospital; the boy is on the critical list.
Perhaps the most galling part of CBS’s segment was when the governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez…
…told reporters that the best thing to do is, “pray for the victims”. We hear this after every such incident. It’s a great way to avoid the responsibility that rests squarely on the shoulders of every state and federal politician, every member of the NRA, every US citizen who owns a gun and fails to support responsible, mature, gun control legislation.
Sure! Let’s just pray for the victims. It won’t do those who’ve been shot one iota of good, but, by God, it’ll make us feel a whole lot better. And isn’t that truly all that matters? Now we can go on playing our lethal games with our lethal toys and God’ll take care of everything.
Sadly, America, I think God has proved time and time again He’s got better things to do with His time. (NOTE: the capitalization is a mark of respect to those who actually believe God exists, and have read sufficient of His Son’s teachings to realize neither God, nor His offspring, has any truck with weapons that kill and maim His children).
How do kids of twelve get their hands on such weapons? Because Daddy (or Mommy) is so bloody irresponsible as to leave these lethal weapons where their kids can get hold of them. And, let’s be brutally honest, these incidents happen so frequently – so often that news programs no longer treat them as headline news unless a bevy of carcasses are left behind – that there must be a whole multitude of irresponsible citizens out there. If that isn’t a good reason for strong legislation to control the owning of guns, I truly don’t know what is.
Do Americans realize this crazy situation is totally specific to them? Do they really believe other countries have similar problems that just aren’t reported on American news? Let me assure you, US citizen, they don’t.
In the whole of Europe, with over twice the population of the United States, there have only been eighteen school shootings in the last one hundred years. Eight in Germany; one in France; one in Sweden; one in Norway; three in Finland; one in Hungary; one in Denmark, one in the UK, and two in the Netherlands.
In the United States of America, between 1927 and the present day, there were:
I guess the New Mexico incident brings the total to 137.
How do Americans live with themselves and their consciences?
I suppose this is one reason I find it hard to empathize with Americans and feel at home in this country. So many of the citizenry are so immature and irresponsible as to value the lives of their children less than the arrogant and prestigious high they experience by owning and handling the very weapons that regularly annihilate them.
 “List of school shootings in Europe” Wikipedia.
 “List of school shootings in the United States Wikipedia.