Culture · Expatria · Istanbul · Politics

The Learning Curve

Duckie’s learning curve is not that great. She kept her distance from the doorways after I threw things at her to scare her away, but today she is boldly strutting right back into our house. This got me thinking about learning curves in general and yesterday’s massacre at Virginia Tech.

It seems that something horrible and scary can happen, which will wake us up and change things for a little while. But somehow, we slip right back into the old habits that caused the scary thing to begin with.

How many years ago did Michael Moore walk into the Virginia bank and get a free gun after opening an account? 2001-2002. The massacre at Columbine was itself in 1999, years before the film even came out. Obviously, the American learning curve is about as high as Duckie’s. The shock, the horror, and then the next massacre, and the next, and the next. How many school shootings have there been since Columbine? I can think of about 6 just off the top of my head. Red Lake and the Amish shootings are the first that come to mind. But there were others.

And why? Because there are people in America who still believe that the right to bear arms is a right that must be defended. And those people make sure it is easy for people to have access to guns. Anyone. Young, old, whatever. It is your right to buy a gun. You don’t have the right to free health care, you don’t have the right to a good education, you don’t have the right to live in a hate-free society. But you sure as hell have the right to buy a fracking gun.

An FBI criminal profiler interviewed by Larry King spoke of the semester abroad her son spent in the UK, where it is extremely difficult for people to buy guns. She mentioned that while her son was there a man went into a mall on a stabbing spree, and further noted that if the gunman (or gunmen) in Virginia only had access to knives, there would be a whole lot less dead people at the university right now. What a way to put it.

When will the learning curve end? When will we learn something and learn it for good? When will our priorities get in line with what is life-preserving, not life-destroying? They say this was the worst school shooting by far. Will it be the last? Or will there need to be another worse one? And another? And another? When is this going to end?

America. I don’t even know what to say to you. You have, once again, left me cold.


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