Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

A Crisis of Conscience…(Mass Shootings Commentary)

with 8 comments

Folks, I haven’t written anything in the past few weeks, and I’m sorry about that. I’ve been dealing with a number of things, and have been too scattered to put words down on the page. In addition, most of what I have to say seems old-hat, trite, or like something I’ve said three thousand times before.

Yet with the two most recent public mass shootings (one in El Paso, TX; the other in Dayton, OH), I feel I have to respond.

My own crisis of conscience, in other words, can wait. There’s a much bigger one going on in the United States as a whole, and I need to try to address it, while I still can.

First: I am frustrated. Angry. Enraged. And heartbroken.

These shootings did not have to happen. These people didn’t have to be injured or killed. And this weekend didn’t have to be marred by senseless violence, yet again.

Second: Here’s what I think will happen in the coming days.


Or, in other words, as I saw on Facebook: “Politicians send out thoughts and prayers. Facebook devolves into flame wars. Everyone forgets. And the same thing happens again.” (And again. And still, yet again.)

This is possibly the best way I’ve seen to sum up what’s been going on in the United States for the past several years with regards to mass shootings.

And that is flat-out unacceptable. We stay in the same place. More people die for no reason. And nothing gets done.

It’s wrong. And while I have no idea what the Hell to do about it — see below — I feel I must at least point out how frustrated, enraged, angry, upset, hurt, and heartbroken I am that other Americans have died because of two madmen. (As per usual at my blog, I will not name either shooter.)

And while I do think it’s a “mental illness problem” as much as anything else — I’ve said so, even, before — I don’t know what to do about this anymore.

Me saying I hate it does nothing.

Me begging my legislators for common-sense solutions has done no good.

Me trying to ask if there’s anything non-governmental entities (i.e., charities and the like) can do anything to put a stop to this has also done no good.

And yet, the killing goes on and on.

It drives me crazy that we have people in this country who think so little of others that they’ll go shoot up a Wal-mart, just because. (As in El Paso, TX.) Or they’ll go shoot up a bar scene in Dayton at night, just because.

Before my Hillary Clinton advocate-friends chime in, I am well aware that the first gunman was a white nationalist/racist. But while that shows his mental processes were, shall we say, unformed and ignorant, that does not explain why he picked Saturday as his day to shoot up a Wal-mart.

And do I think that was domestic terrorism? You bet it was. But I think every single one of these mass shootings has been a form of domestic terrorism, going back to the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado.

These gunmen are all marginalized souls who can’t see the forest for the trees, and they hold their own lives so cheaply, it means nothing to take others. That much is certain.

But again, what can I do about it? Nothing I do or say does any good. And it’s so frustrating, to sit here, impotent, unable to do anything whatsoever to bring healing or hope or anything other than rage to the situation.

Because we have more than enough rage already, thanks.

What we need now, somehow, is for our legislators to work with doctors and nurses and those in law enforcement and come up with something that will actually help reduce the amount of mass shootings in this country. But how we get that done in a super-polarized political climate is beyond me.

So, all I can say is what I’ve said before: I feel terrible that more good people have died for no reason. And I wish we could all come together and work out something that would do some good, rather than just continuing to let this fester…as letting it fester is obviously doing no good whatsoever.

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 5, 2019 at 12:37 am

8 Responses

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  1. While I’m not sure what “Mental Health” measures can/should be taken, what really pisses me off is that these “nut-case shooters” aren’t the real problem.

    The real problem are the deaths in the “High Crime” areas that are ignored by the National Media.

    If gangs in the High Crime areas killed other gangs and innocents, then the National Media ignores those deaths.

    Of course, part of the reason those deaths are ignored is that those areas already have restrictive gun laws and another part is that the murderers & victims are minorities.

    Sorry Barb, I understand what you’re saying but I’ve been “listening” to an asshole who is Blaming The El Paso shooting on White Supremacists thus the Evil Trump Is At Fault.

    I think I’ll stop here before I make comments about a certain donkey party. 😦

    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    August 5, 2019 at 3:47 am

    • There are many reasons for the various shootings we’ve had, Paul, over the years. They all boil down to the same thing, I’m afraid. And it’s why I’m so frustrated with the whole affair.

      You know I’m no fan of 45, but this problem predated him and will almost certainly still be here after he gets out of office.

      That said, I don’t think his Tweets over the weekend helped matters much. And I don’t think empathy is his thing, so when tragedies strike, he doesn’t know what to do or say — and rather than say that (which would be better than nothing), he takes the traditional “thoughts/prayers/forget” line, except he seems to do it via Tweet rather than most politicians pretending to care for a few days, then forgetting (or hoping _we_ do).

      I’m cynical this morning, I know.

      I say all that with a caveat: there is much more knowledge of white supremacist activities than there used to be. I’m not certain as to why this is. That 45’s comment of “fine people on both sides” after the Charlottesville incident may have given some of those white supremacists hope that “their” POTUS sees their POV is almost certain, but that’s a far cry from being directed and sent out by 45.

      So, possibly emboldened, and that’s distressing enough. But caused?

      And with the El Paso shooting, that’s one lone white supremacist — a very young man at only twenty-one, at that — not a whole conspiracy of same, at least as far as I am aware.

      My view of this overall, Paul, is as I’ve said. I don’t know what the answers are. But this has been going on now for twenty years if you go back to Columbine. I think it _is_ mental-health related more than anything else.

      But what do we do about it, and how do we find these would-be shooters before it all starts? And educate them, and give them the treatment they need, so they don’t do this anymore?

      Barb Caffrey

      August 5, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      • I’m cynical as well.

        What my cynical nature says is that the “increase” in White Supremacists is simply because Lefties “overused the racist card” so now they play the “White Supremacists card”. 😈

        Take care.

        Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        August 5, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      • I don’t blame you for being cynical. And I wish we had someone like Father Andrew Greeley (wearing his sociologist’s hat as well as his writer’s hat) alive today to explain what is going on. Because this rise was probably happening before 45 got into office. It’s been much more commented on since he got in there. But did he cause it? Somehow, I don’t think so. (Maybe accelerated it, but cause it?)

        We’ve had these groups around for at least fifty years. What’s new is that you now have these young, disaffected gunmen who decide that they’re going to do these atrocious things.

        And that’s why the FBI and the CIA and law enforcement in general exist. I am glad they’re out there doing their jobs, even though on days like this past weekend they have the toughest jobs in America.

        Barb Caffrey

        August 5, 2019 at 1:47 pm

  2. Heartfelt indeed Barb.
    History has so many lessons to teach on the questions of Hate, Ignorance and Intolerance that you would have thought we would have learned by now.
    The resonances of the latest being WWII are starting to fade that folk would think Hitler and his dysfunctional gang were true visionary leaders beggars belief. While Gandhi’s message seems to have long been lost in his beloved India.
    We are flawed creatures and answers are hard to find.
    My own built on the ancestral memories and histories of Europe are based around firmer governments and the indoctrination of the ethos of Responsibility into people; sadly this has its own flaws and is open to abuse. We can only turn our backs on Intolerance and as is taught in Matthew 11-15……

    “11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.
    12 And when ye come into an house, salute it.
    13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
    14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
    15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.”


    August 5, 2019 at 4:06 am

    • I agree, Roger. And thanks for the Biblical quote. It is appreciated. (It reminds me that these things have been known to happen before; only the type of weapon has changed, not the type of violence.)

      Barb Caffrey

      August 5, 2019 at 1:23 pm

  3. I have persistent ongoing incurable mental illness and I’ve never shot anyone. I’ve never wanted to. Mental illness may be a symptom, but it’s not the cause.

    Limiting people to guns that shoot 10 rounds or less would do a lot to slow the body count, at least. I’m for limiting access to guns nationwide, but that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon.

    No other nation on earth, industrialized or not, has this problem. The best advice I can give (based on my own active shooter training, sadly) is to run away from the line of fire. If you’re close and wait for the gun to jam, you might have a chance to disarm the attacker, but if you are not trained and qualified to do that then RUN.

    Also, don’t be afraid of them. That and recognition are the only things these shooters want, and we are not obligated to give it to them.


    August 5, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    • Good thoughts, Jenni. And I agree with you; just saying someone is mentally ill if they’re going to treatment and/or counseling and thus should be kept from all guns forever is going too far. (Not that I want guns, or that you do either.) But going to treatment is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. (That’s my point.)

      Barb Caffrey

      August 5, 2019 at 7:08 pm

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