Whenever there’s a mass shooting, there are always those who immediately rush in to protect the guns. They’ll blame everything else but the massive gun problem we have. Video games. Mental health. Our culture. And I’ll always respond, “Other countries have violent video games, movies, and TV shows. Other countries have mental health problems. But they don’t have a never-ending stream of mass shootings. They’ve taken action that we’re unwilling to take.”
But, let me address the “culture” question.
Yes, we have a cultural problem in this country.
Our problem is that we lack empathy. We make fun of the concept. Compassion is seen as weak. Our biggest heroes in movies and TV shows are anti-heroes. A character who does the right thing just because it’s the right thing to do is portrayed as silly, stupid, dumb, out of touch, a throwback, a caricature. That kind of hero usually shows up in a parody.
We should teach that empathy is a noble thing. Perhaps the highest thing. We should learn to have compassion for those who are vulnerable, for those who are part of persecuted minorities, for those who have been sidelined from the mainstream, for those who have fallen through the cracks, the immigrants, the poor, the sick, the oppressed.
If we were indeed a compassionate nation and had a national sense of empathy, we would have gotten serious after the first mass shooting at a school.
We would have taken action.
If we cared.