When I think of yesterday's events.
First of all, I hate it when someone prescribes, based on their own social conventions and biases, how exactly I am supposed to feel and react to such a horrific event. My values are not your values. So you will forgive me if I don't react in exactly the manner you-or the thousands like you think I should react.
How do I react to an event like yesterday's as an American? Fear, disgust, despair and anger.
Fear because when you look at the names of the victims-one quickly realizes that there is nothing to distinguish them from you. The went to work-to do their jobs-never expecting it would be the end. They had plans, families, dreams, a life. And it was all ended senselessly. Consider:
Michael Arnold, 59.
Sylvia Frasier, 53.
Kathy Gaarde, 62.
John Roger Johnson, 73.
Frank Kohler, 50.
Bernard Proctor, 46.
Vishnu Pandit, 61.
They have a lot in common with you-and with me. I don't know their individual stories but I'll bet a couple were prior Navy or otherwise prior service. They just wanted to do their jobs. These are hardly the "moochers" that government workers are portrayed as daily in the halls of Congress and in supposedly "smart" political circles. If I had taken a job in DC ( or LA , or Washington State, or Pittsburgh, or Charlotte) -it could have been me.
Which leads to a second point. I don't understand those who say they were targeted because they were Navy. That they were Navy is actually a secondary consideration. This was a workplace shooting. Nothing more, nothing less. If they had been working for Honeywell, General Dynamics, Merrill Lynch, the Department of State-would their deaths somehow have been less tragic? The Navy was their corporation. They were randomly targeted because the shooter objected to something that had occurred connected with the corporation. This work place had extra security to be sure-but the shooter still got through.
It's disgusting to me that this happened in my own country. Its also less than thrilling to realize that in the grand scheme of things in the world-it is just a drop of water in the sea of violence that engulfs our planet. Consider, in the 24 hours of yesterday:
41 people died in Mexico yesterday due to flooding.
8 People died in Colorado for the same reason.
No one knows how many people died in Syria yesterday.
The most senior police woman in Afghanistan died in as a result of shooting injuries.
36 people died in Iraq over the weekend.
3 people died in Japan on the 16th-as a result of a Typhoon.
64 people died in the Philippines as a result of fighting in Zamboanga.
And the list goes on.
Its here that anger can and should kick in. Its all tragic. Its all unnecessary. Its all fundamentally unfair. Yet we daily see events such as these pass us by and pay no mind to it. We become numb to it-unless it happens to someone we know.
I've been a bystander to a couple of instances of work place violence. During my time as a squadron XO, a Sailor in a sister squadron, after getting a career ending piece of paper, injured another Sailor and shot himself. On another occasion a fellow officer went AWOL and committed suicide. When I was in college-a Freshman refused to come home from leave. So he shot his family in their beds.
The cycle of violence goes on.
Those who survived and were spared, in the sheer joy of being alive, attributed the fact that they did so-because "God was with them". Are we then to surmise that God was not with the dead and wounded? That's hardly fair….or just. What kind of a God just lets random, senseless acts of violence roll on unabated because its some kind of "divine plan"? If it is a plan-its not divine nor is it much of one. Its pretty goddamn twisted and unfair if you ask me. I'm not getting into the problem of why evil exists. Or how believing people reconcile themselves with the fact that God lets bad things happen to good people. I certainly do not know the answer.
However, I do know its unfair-that unfairness undercuts His attempts to draw people unto himself.
And, while we’re discussing things that are unfair, here’s another: how the owner of the contracting firm that hired the shooter got so damn rich. Or how he has the balls to blame what happened yesterday on the sequester. Sorry pal-as the purveyor of a product, sequester or no, you still had an obligation to do due diligence. There is more here than meets the eye-and hopefully it will come out.
And if you are not mad about that-then perhaps you should be.
There's a lot more to be angry about-and I have a right to show my anger. Its the primary feeling I had yesterday-especially since I was pretty sure from the start it was a disgruntled employee and not a terrorist attack-and it appears I was right.
I'm going to start drinking now because here is where the despair kicks in.
Because nothing is going to change.
Oh sure there will be tighter security-and background investigations for non deluded, non shooting, non messed up people are going to get really painful. Despair that dickheads like Joe Wilson can spout off nonsense. And never get called on it. A year will come and go and he will still be Joe fucking Wilson.
Despair that the clock is ticking till the next place of workplace violence appears-because rather than do the best thing one could do to honor their memories,-namely find a way to keep that next event from happening-the country will slump back into its pit of doing nothing and accepting this kind of mindless violence as the "cost of doing business".
And of course the same government employees now being praised will be screwed when the Congress shuts the government down next month.And it will only be a matter of time until some asshole Congressman tells us that clearly, only more sequestration, more budget cuts, more tax cuts, can make our troops safe.
Because you know….we can't make any real changes. That benefit someone besides rich people.
As I said-I have a right to be angry.