Letter: Massacres aren't shocking in violence-saturated nation

Massacres aren't shocking in violence-plagued US

To the editor:

As Americans, we crossed a threshold in the aftermath of Newtown. Twenty innocent children slaughtered, babies really (and not slaughtered by a Muslim). That was our moment to shine, and we chose to do nothing. We buried our collective soul along with those children.

Yes, the body count in Orlando was higher, but so what? Is it about the numbers? If that is the case, then our personal pain over the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men, women, children, and women with child would be just too unbearable, but we seem to be doing OK with it, wouldn't you say? But then again, we murdered them.

Sorry, but vigils, holding candles, and singing sad songs doesn't cut it for me anymore. I turned on the television the other day and channel surfed. Eighty percent of what I saw dealt with —and glorified — violence, from crime and horror shows to superheroes. Something for all ages. The violence of the top video games is abhorrent.

There are well over 300 million guns in our country. By the age of 8, the typical American child will have watched 4,000 hours of violence on TV at a time when their brains are being hard-wired. And the only ones who can forget the violence of our favorite national sport are the ones who took too many direct hits to the head. (Doesn't seem to slow ticket sales or ad revenue.)

A-list actors produce slick, professional videos in the aftermath of each shooting, asking when the violence will end. They then go off and earn a cool $15 million per film glorifying violence and profiting enormously from it. We'll each pay $15 a ticket to watch the movie, with a bucket of popcorn in our laps, enjoying the super-sweet visual effects of bodies being dismembered, with each movie, and each television series, having to outdo its competitors in terms of "realism" and gore. We are satiated with violence.

I am becoming either more cynical or more pragmatic. Looking at our culture, we lead such disjointed lives. We glorify and promote violence, while feigning surprise when life imitates art. We need a more holistic view of life and not give in only to sentimentality.

Yes we can mourn the dead, but make the deaths in Orlando count toward something. Or will they have died in vain like the children at Newtown? The Senate vote on Monday came as no surprise. Why should all the violence?

Jeffrey Reel, Great Barrington


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