WHAT’S THE MOTIVE FOR THE MASS SHOOTINGS ON TWITTER?
There’s been a mass shooting! Let the games begin! Grab your word-weapons of choice and get to your Twitter battle stations!
Although the San Bernardino murder venue is particularly disturbing — a facility for people with disabilities — a mass shooting isn’t unusual anymore: we’ve had more mass shootings in 2015 than we have had days.
What is shocking to me, though, is the virtual bloodshed, which is every bit as hate-filled as the bullet and bomb-induced bloodshed. I’m not a huge Twitter person; I’m too addicted to Facebook to spend much time tweeting. I tweet a photo or a link once in a while.
Yesterday was the first time I monitored Twitter for any length of time. Wow. America is even sicker than I thought, which is saying quite a bit.
Someone to Blame
I first got on Twitter yesterday to sarcastically point people to the National Rifle Association’s website, where for twenty-five bucks you can join up and get a free copy of their magazine Freedom, the cover emblazoned with the words: The Catastrophic Consequences of Gun Registration. You can also purchase their lovely holiday cards featuring bald eagles and American flags and a special cute puppy collection.
I admit spewing at the NRA — as evil and culpable as they are — wasn’t a particularly helpful contribution, but it made me feel better. I felt angry and powerless and needed someone to blame.
I was surprised to instantly have scads of people liking and re-tweeting my little jab at the NRA. Weird. So I scrolled. And scrolled. Oh. My. God.
#He’s a Muslim! is trending big-time. The RWNB (right wing nut-balls, for those not in the know) are ecstatic that the killer is #notawhiteguy and has a “funny name” and is probably a terrorist, so of course this has nothing to do with gun control.
Except, except – didn’t they use guns? Wouldn’t it be better if terrorists couldn’t get multiple guns legally at Walmart? Oh, no matter. #He’s a Muslim! It’s not #2nd amendment!
We quickly go from accusations of a #mediaconspiracy to hide the guy’s funny name to protect #radicalIslamists, to Syrian refugees being behind it all. And of course, our president.
“See?” tweets one RWNB, “Now Barack Hussein Obama has a whole army of Syrian illegal aliens.”
Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.
And speaking of Jesus Christ — just as nasty as the conservative racism and hatred of Muslims is the liberal vitriol and outrage at the people actually PRAYING about this. Praying, for pity’s sake! What an abomination!
#stoppraying is becoming a popular hashtag. “What a waste! Don’t pray, do something!” is the sentiment. “Praying to an imaginary friend is what causes these shootings!”
This puts me, an unabashed liberal whose first impulse is nevertheless to pray, in an awkward position. I know liberals aren’t supposed to pray these days, it’s bad form. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela are just so . . . yesterday.
But clearly, humans on their own can’t solve these problems. We have a deep soul-sickness. We are destroying our own planet, for God’s sake! Do we not need a power greater than ourselves?
I know that the liberals are angry and lashing out at hypocritical right-wing politicians who say they are praying, tell others to pray, and then fight gun control with every blessed breath they’ve got. But really, liberal friends. Get a grip. People praying is not the problem.
Making Sense of the Soul-Sickness
I happen to believe that only the Great Good Spirit can change hearts and teach love and unity instead of fear and division. Until the hate and fear stop, the carnage — both the virtual and the flesh & blood – isn’t going to stop.
So I’m going to pray. #Excusethehelloutofme. And I’m going to work to pass gun control legislation. And I’m going to try not to judge or hate people who disagree with me.
All of these unfortunate rage-filled tweeters are really just trying to make sense of this soul-sickness. We are all trying to understand, to find someone to blame, to fit these atrocities into our narratives of reality. It’s Muslims! It’s religious people! Too many guns! Not enough guns! It’s liberals/conservatives/right/left! It’s starving, frightened Syrian refugee children!
See, if we can explain it — no matter how big a stretch we make — maybe we can control it. Maybe it won’t happen to someone we love. Or to us.