Society in Decline

Brendon Mackey (source)

seven year-old boy is dead after attending a fireworks display in the Richmond VA area. He was walking with his father when he fell, bleeding and without a pulse. It wasn’t immediately clear what was happening in the large loud crowd, although police now say this.

“Doctors discovered that Brendon had suffered an apparent gunshot wound to the top of his head,” police said. “Police believe this wound was the result of someone shooting randomly into the air, likely from a distance, and not an intentional act. Police need the public’s help to locate whoever fired the round.”

Every act of gun violence is obscene, this one is just particularly depressing to me. Not an acceptable price to pay for freedom. Not a well-regulated militia.

How much is enough? How much do we have to lose before we see how out of control we are? Do violence and tragedy have to enter our own living room for us to finally pay attention? How close does it have to be for us to feel something other than pity?

I’ve been reading David Simon‘s blog, The Audacity of Despair for about a year. He is actively engaged in conversations and for my money, is manifesting the democratizing vision of the internet better than anyone. He said this in the comments of his recent post, Chickens, Coming Home and was speaking in the context of a specific systemic issue in Baltimore, but I think it applies here.  “[A]ny society that fails to respond to the murder of a human being without high sanction and serious concern is uncivil, amoral and in decline.”


1 thought on “Society in Decline”

  1. Thank you so much for caring enough about my poem, Starfish, to post it on your blog. I hope you won’t mind my asking you to fix a typo in it: the poem has been republished hundreds of times online and a mistake has crept in that I am trying to correct because it changes the whole meaning of a particular line. In the fourth stanza, the last two lines should read: “Because you stopped when you should have AND started again.” Of course the “and” shouldn’t be capitalized, but you can see that it’s absence creates a bleak, rather than a hopeful message. We should all–as, from reading your blog, I see you certainly understand–stop once in a while but starting again is where all the hope resides.
    Thanks very much.
    Eleanor Lerman

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