Monday, June 13, 2016

A dying nation in acceptance

America is dying.

In December 2012, a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 20 children, six adults, and himself. Since [Sandy Hook], there have been at least 1,001 mass shootings, with shooters killing at least 1,141 people and wounding 3,943 more.

That's the lead in the story which also has an interactive map of the shootings.

There's more (from the LA Times, for example, also with an interactive map): "Since Sandy Hook, a gun has been fired on school grounds nearly once a week." NBC News adds "Since Sandy Hook, an American Kid Has Died by a Gun Every Other Day."

Faced with such death, America seems to have passed through the stages of grief. (See Note at the end of this post.) Here is my adaptation of that model (from Wikipedia)to America's reaction to its deaths.

Denial — "individuals ... cling to a false, preferable reality." Guns don't kill people.

Anger — "Who is to blame?"; "Why would this happen?" Fed by the gun lobby, the shootings are seen as an excuse to defend the 2nd amendment.

Bargaining — "negotiation for an extended life is made in exchange for a reformed lifestyle." Let's "reach across the aisle" to have background checks, mental health services.

Depression — "the individual despairs at the recognition of their mortality" "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die soon, so what's the point?" Or, we can't stop the crazies from shooting people.

Acceptance — "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it." "In this last stage, individuals embrace mortality or inevitable future."

As a nation, we have arrived at acceptance. The above numbers are the price we are willing to pay for profits of gun manufacturers, for the NRA's purchase of our politicians, and for our 2nd amendment "rights." We have come to accept the deaths of our school children. We have come to accept mass shootings - the Orlando shooter bought his guns legally.

America, we are dying.

Note: "Since the publication of "On Death and Dying", the K├╝bler-Ross model has become accepted by the general public; however, its validity is not consistently supported by the majority of research."

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