I’m not going to blame any one group, school of thought, Constitutional Amendment, or video game, but any of them could play a part. So could our propensity to call violence entertainment. So could our hyper-connectivity and an always-on news business which constantly demands the pages and screens to be filled. So could our inability to deal with interpersonal conflict directly. So could… you get the point.
I wasn’t near a television or the internet when the tragic murder of two journalists from Virginia unfolded on live television. I was waiting for a friend to arrive and quickly checked Facebook for messages when I saw the initial post, but didn’t read the story. I later learned the horror of the situation and about the way the killer leveraged all the angles I mentioned above as he brought a live television audience into his crime, into his first-person shooter point of view.
Late last night I began to see posts online by people who sought out the videos of the murders, not only the recording of the live broadcast, but also that from the body camera of the killer. I thought at first it was morbid curiosity, like slowing down to look at a bad wreck, but it has troubled me in the time since.
There is something different about wanting to see the violent death of another human being with your own eyes, about purposing to see it, about furthering the trauma. Is it murder in our own hearts? I think it might be.
America, we have to do something. It won’t be easy. We will have to give up our personal right opinions in order to save lives. We will have to sacrifice for one another instead of demanding our way. We will have to take two giant steps forward, toward positions that aren’t our favorite trenches, and then a few more, because what we’re doing now isn’t working.
We have to stop killing each other. It effects every “issue” on our collective cultural plate. Every. single. one. Let’s pretend for a moment, or a few, or maybe just commit to the fact that every human being has value.
Let’s get creative.
Put all options on the table and let’s work this out.