Yeah, it’s a little fuzzy, n’est-ce pas?
I won’t ramble for long, but here’s my take.
Here, in “USA, Inc.”, we have issues. We glorify violence, and honor competition. We promote rampant consumerism. This leads to alienation and isolation, anxiety and depression, to name JUST A FEW. It sort of makes you want to drink. Or, shoot people. I’m not being in any way ironic.
I have NO idea (mainly because the mainstream media chooses not to delve into the mental health issue since it makes a less compelling story than, let’s say, “evil-doings,” but I digress) what was going on inside the head of the shooter, but let me tell you something: there was a point–more than one, honestly–during my middle and high school years that were, actually, low enough to make me contemplate killing of beings, namely myself. The self-loathing and anger that resulted from my feeling ostracized/ridiculed at school for being a good student; for being from a family who weren’t, to be frank, hicks; for simply being creative/artistic (let’s not even go into sexual preferences and/or orientation)–it led me to binge eat and then, binge drink. I couldn’t deal, and most of the time, I didn’t know HOW to deal aside from writing and dancing my emotions out. Unfortunately, I was too inhibited to dance in front of others. Fortunately, I clung to my belief in my grades as my ticket out, as well as my writing–my life raft.
I don’t know what’s going on, really, with today’s kids, but by the time I got to my junior year of college, I had already gone through several major episodes of depression, been through the emotional mindfuck that is bulimia, and likely harbored some serious sociopathic leanings that never materialized, due to simply internalizing my hatred for the people who hated me (or so I thought). I was SO overwhelmed by a sense of “there is something seriously wrong with this place” that I HAD to escape. And I did, to France. Anything to get me away from the billboards, the commercials, the emptiness I felt at having everything and having nothing (and I came from a lower middle class family!). I felt suffocated by what I still see to be the ills of our society, which have NOTHING, really, to do with the “freedom” to own guns (there’s a great article in The New Yorker on the history of the first amendment’s “right to bear arms” clause):
1. Consumerism. The idea that things, instead of experiences, people, and places, will make you happy and/or content; that happiness and contentment, like EVERYTHING worth having, can be had by anything but hard work–attained over a period of years, if not an entire lifetime.
2. Glorification of violence. We can see it in everything from our movies to our wars, this “we’re-gonna-kick-your-head-in-cuz-we-can” mentality. (When I volunteered clearing rubble in [beautiful island] after the [natural disaster], the Brits and Aussies nicknamed the heaviest sledgehammer “‘Merica” because it could “smash a lot of shit and leave a mess behind.”)
3. Glorification of competition, egotism, greed, etc. Why aren’t more “feminine” ideologies instilled in us throughout our lives, like cooperation, conciliation, nonviolent conflict resolution? I guess I’m generalizing here, but how many of you would argue against the fact that most (all?) of these mass shootings have been perpetrated my men, and wars are declared mainly (exclusively?) by male leaders?
I wish it was different, but when I left “USA, Inc.” in 1994 for Tours and then Paris, France, I figuratively never looked back. Now, I’m living in [beautiful island], which I might consider a second-world country but would certainly agree that it’s NOT the mainland–and I feel like I can breathe, like I might never return to “that place.”
Anyhoo…how does this pertain to drinking? Well, all I can say is, I’ve never experienced this kind of grief, so I have no idea what I would do. BUT, I hope that I would not pick up. I mean, drinking almost seems pointless in situations like this; which, in a sense, is a testament to its futility in the face of confronting the things life throws our way.
I wish peace to all the families involved in this shiteous crime. That is all.