Friday, December 21, 2012

The Genie is Out of the Bottle – a reaction to Wayne LaPierre’s NRA response to the Newtown violence:

Mr. LaPierre said that we should arm teachers, we should arm principles and we should think about armed security in our schools in answer to the Newtown slaughter of 26 young innocents. What could possibly go wrong? I am incredulous at the words Mr. LaPierre spoke. They stun my imagination.

I am capable, though, of selecting the axioms about which he talked and agreeing at least in part, to some. He addressed his speech to the culture of violence in the nation and I agree with many of his points. Video games, talk radio, film, television's all pervasive saturated culture of violence is out there for all to see and companies make billions from it. Little violence or sexual licentiousness is prohibited nay more is encouraged and accentuated. There are FEW boundaries any longer. The late iconic intellectual of the 1950’s, Steve Allen, once said in the title of his book "Vulgarians at the Gate" that the culture has become saturated with vulgarity and we are comfortable with that vulgarity. Left and right; red state or blue we are comfortable with it. I ask why.

As a young adult in the late 60's I protested against war and worked for a more permissive culture with respect to women, sexual mores, and free speech but I ask now where did our message go askew and what did we unleash? There is no insult now that is too profane, there is no decibel utterance too loud and there is no limit to the expression of hate. Our boundaries of what is permissible and what is not have been erased. There is, as I call it, an anarchy of the human essence.

I fear the culture of violence, I fear a culture of irrational thought, I fear the culture of unbridled greed, I fear a culture of hate and I fear a cultural garb rent with division. I was not asking for this world I worry I helped shape. I know I am as guilty as any of political thought and speech permeated with emotional passion, uncompromising and immutable. For that I, singularly, can hope only to do better.

I fear though the genie has been let out of the bottle decades ago. I suspect it cannot be returned and THAT is my biggest fear of all!

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