It Takes All Of Us

I’m old enough to remember when “Why?” was a talking point.

It was the question that followed some truly horrible shit like a mass shooting or a body cam footage release. A news anchor would begin with that unanswerable question when introducing a guest or as a way to segue to a live remote. A celebrity talking head would use up an hour on the question in the name of ratings. The medium dictated the narrative because it was some dramatic shit to be laying down.

And you know what? We’ve done it all wrong.

We got fed this public service announcement ad infinitum and we ate up the empty calories. It was bupkis on a stick. The broadcasting of all that really bad shit did nothing to stem the tide. All it did was fetch corner offices for the on-air talent.

Let’s go back to 1999 and the Columbine shooting. We got wall to wall coverage on a sum of all fears scenario; disenfranchised kids laying siege on a student body. Kids killing kids. Anchors and talking heads asked Why and journalists wrote about how our culture was in need of change and okay . . . how we doing with that?

A little less than a quarter century later, we still have kids killing kids. Maybe they flunked standardized testing or got dumped right before prom or ditched the meds and failed in that sobriety. Whatever the reason, it’s solved with violence now. That’s because too many kids have come to see themselves as fringe participants in a world gone sideways. And they’re plenty angry about it. Having been raised on TV and its many cousins, they have come to understand that there is no such thing as bad publicity. So then, it’s not a matter of asking why they carry out these horrific acts when we should be looking at what compels them to choose such a thing in the first place.


Let’s face it, we ain’t the most sterling examples of self-restraint. In fact, us grown ups have made a real mess of things. We drank from the well of the same medium we raised our kids on, ignoring the fact it was getting us nowhere at the speed of light. And no, scapegoating the media ain’t getting us anywhere; they didn’t set the fires, they simply reported on them. But all those horrible days that had us glued to our sets amounted to precious little educational value. Unless anger counts for something, because we have plenty of that and it’s more infectious than whatever the latest virus happens to be.

In the age of safe spaces, we ain’t got one. We live in a world where brawls at little league games and gunfights at kid’s birthday parties don’t even make us flinch. We have become the narrators, acquiescing to the storm that threatens to sweep us under while cashing in on the viral acrimony with our devices and our social media platforms.

And when our cache runs dry, then we’ll blame the media . . we’ll blame the other party . . we’ll blame teachers and bankers and lawyers and Jews and Blacks and Asians and Muslims and anything and anyone else. And the only change that will come of doing so is that bad will get worse.

Last month it was LA and Memphis; but they are just the latest ground zero moments. They sure as hell won’t be the last. Because there is always going to be another routine traffic stop that turns tragic. There is always going to be another kid or grown up looking to settle their differences with a gun. Violence is how we solve our problems; from Memphis to LA to every other place in the world that’s just waiting to get in trouble, somehow and someway and sometime soon. And maybe we’ll get it through our thick heads that the time to ask why is long gone.

We have to start asking what the hell we’re going to do about it.






45 thoughts on “It Takes All Of Us

  1. I learned a word while studying for the GMAT way back before grad school. The word is paucity. It means the presence of something but in such small amounts as to be ineffective. I think the word covers the condition of our leadership today. I’m not just talking about government (God knows the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches resemble a leadership Mohave) but include parents, school administration, and the media. All of us standing around while the world goes apeshit crazy. Your point is the problem is us, and you are so right. Where is the voice that says, “We’ve had it and are not going to take anymore?” Well done, Pilgrim

    Liked by 5 people

  2. B,

    I agree with John on this one. (And we must add paucity to the file!) And with you, of course. We blame the media but we keep feeding them by watching their never ending loops of coverage while we DO nothing.

    Honestly, I don’t even ask the question “why” for anything. It is mostly a useless one. To use our “favourite phrase” – it is what it is – and it is up to us to either accept it or do something. “Why” is not going to get us anywhere unless we truly want to know the reason so that we can do something about it. Until then, it is the equivalent of “How are you?” not wanting to know if the answer is anything but “Fine”.

    Excellent essay with much food for thought.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Q

      That word is fast tracked into the files!

      And yes, exactly. We feed at the trough and then we talk about it and then we forget about it until the next forgettable day arrives. Rinse, repeat.

      And that makes me wonder if many really don’t want to know. What if this is as good as it is ever going to get? And what happens when it takes an even more sinister turn for the worse? Yikes.

      Thank you lovely.


      Liked by 1 person

      • I was sure you would concur!

        Rinse and repeat and rinse and repeat. It’s getting old, don’t you think?

        I truly believe people don’t really want to know. They figure if they ignore it, it doesn’t exist. And, I also believe, in time, they will be nose in it and forced to see but by then? I fear.

        Always, just as lovely.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What can I add that’s not already been clearly said. I think Madam Green should be horsewhipped and the rest of the House hosed down…the media taken to task. I can’t watch it anymore, but even when you try to keep your mind clear, there’s some asshole discussing the P.T. Barnum of the House. McCarthy and his fellow Smurfs won’t be happy till Biden has a stroke the way they keep taunting him with the poor judgment of his wayward son.

    How bout instead, doing what’s best for the old USA that’s so fucked at the moment. Well, I wasn’t as articulate as John and paucity leaves me flat…hey…words are personal after all.. and when he calls you pilgrim, I can’t help seeing you with a turkey and buckled shoes. But then again, what do I know. NIce piece Marco.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Is that McCarthy still kicking? I thought for sure Trump would have given the order to take him out to the plains and yanno . . Seeing as how it seems he is still the Capo.

      Paucity . . I mean, how can we not love what the file has wrought?

      I appreciate you, my Chief of Staff.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Like Jimmy Hoffa.

        Trump, who still leads the charge. This will sound light to many for the straw that broke the camel’s back, but when he didn’t show up on the 20th Anniversary of September 11th, that was it for me. The only living President aside from Carter who was too elderly to travel who blew it off. To go to fucking sport’s event. He makes me sick, and those who still champion him should be ashamed of themselves. Talk about file popping.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I couldn’t agree more. How do you live in that city basically your entire life and not show up to that? I mean, even if he hadn’t lived in NYC, it still would’ve been awful. But you know what I mean.

          It’s awful on top of awful on top of awful, because you have the anniversary of an event that will never make sense. Couple that with a man who has absolutely no sense of class or compassion and then add the fact that if John Jr had lived? 2016 would have been HIS calling card to the country and all of this might have been very different.

          I’m popping files right along with you.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. You hit a grand salami with this one. We are the problem. Yes – us! People love looking elsewhere for finger-pointing at the problem while expecting others to find solutions – therefore wiping their hands of any involvement. Excellent essay, sir! By the way, John gave me paucity and you provided bupkis. I wonder if my sentence was the first time they have ever appeared together! By the way, I know each of those words never appeared on aFa.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent essay, per your usual inimitable style. I’m not so sure I am ready to let the media off the hook so easily as you seem to do here. Not everyone feeds at their trough that way. It is truly a problem that troubled people see this as way to make a “splash” so to speak.
    John is right about paucity and leadership. So HOW do we get ridda da bums? That is the question.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t help but feel that we’ve already lost this race. What race? Well, actually it’s more than one race. The race against technology … we’ve lost that one. The race against political dysfunction … we’ve lost that one. The race against … well, so much. The human race has always been treading water. The only difference now is that the water is going down the drain and taking us with it because there’s nothing for us to grab on to.

    Depressing? Maybe. But I won’t give up. I will still get up every morning and do the best I can. Because the alternative is far too horrible to consider.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Most days head shaking is my biggest activity. The lack of civility, the downright hostility displayed by far too many and the ridiculousness of some of the triggers that give license to it all is just staggering and overwhelming. And with each day of that head shaking, it seems to continue to be a downward spiral in the evolution of humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ‘Why’ is ephemeral and great for soundbites. ‘What’ is informative and can actually make sense of insanity. ‘How’ is actionable, the one thing we have been doing too little of.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ephemeral, great word.

      And yes Pam. We tend to be spectators too much of the time. I remember after September 11th, I got my kids into volunteering. It was the one thing they could control in a world that was slowly losing it. It empowered them, allowed them to understand how change really works. One person at a time.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I think the problem is we don’t know exactly what to do about it, so we revert to the blame game. (Which, in my opinion, the media does it’s best to encourage. Keeping us afraid and angry boosts ratings, and the media is a business, and businesses need profits.) Who we blame is the only variable, because we all blame whatever group we a) don’t belong to, and b) are afraid of. It also follows trends… I remember the days when if you wanted to silence someone, you called them a communist. These days, you call them a racist. Meanwhile, no one knows how to work together for the common good, and that is very troubling. Thanks for an excellent post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • All great points Ann, and I agree. The media is a bottom line endeavor to which we should always take heed. But that’s not how it works. One side believes most everything they hear on “their” news network while the other believes everything they hear on “their news network and so that middle? It’s gone.

      I used to be damned for being middle of the road, but here’s the thing. I critique and analyze and rarely trust EITHER side. I want change and I want some modicum of consensus to come with that change and I do not see it.

      Thank you Ann

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Powerful message here!
    And we do need to find ways to address it and take action
    But sometimes this cannot be done objectively
    I guess I am thinking of the UVA shootings that happened – it was after a Sunday trip to the theatre and not once have I heard that the students that were shot and killed were also possible bullies and laughed and made fun of “lesser than students”
    Not once did anyone mention the behaviors that they had that would stir up so much hate and hurt in another student to where he would get that angry
    I am not justifying what he did because it was wrong and I feel bad for the families that lost their children
    But we really do not talk about all
    Of the layers
    And we lived in Denver when columbine happened
    And both boys were bullied (a lot)
    And Frank peretti wrote a book called “the wounded spirit”
    About some of the issues to address-

    No easy solution here but your post here gets the topic discussed a little and that is a very good thing

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s true what you say. There’s no listening going on, there’s no advocacy for these kids when they need it the most. So what happens? They lash out because they do not feel heard. Then they become monsters, they lose all dimension and we never get to the bottom of things.

      No, I don’t justify this, I simply see it for what it is. Inaction and in many cases indifference. When kids speak in language that is disturbing, when they project and nothing happens, what do we expect will happen next?

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Marc, the USA gun culture is unique.
    War is normal… countries invading countries, citizens fighting civil wars in their own countries, peoples defending their land and ideas.
    It’s HORRIBLE, but normal, unfortunately.

    You say ask what? It might be late. The question now seems to be when. When is the next one. It was yesterday, on the 13th, in Michigan.

    Yes, we are all affected by the big mass bull.
    The thing is you have guns. We don’t (by and large). That is the only thing separating our realities. If we had more guns here, we would have more mass shootings.
    We have our share of disaffected humanity.

    However..the what… what if you changed your gun laws for a start?

    I saw some reports on teen suicides, all promoted by social media.
    If I had kids, I would encourage pot smoking before Internet.

    It’s messed up.



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