I did a 48-hour trip to Spokane-Coeur-d’Alene-Missoula, and flew out Spokane Airport (GEG) to Portland OR (PDX) and then homeward bound into Boise Airport (BOI), arriving at 12:15am...45 minutes later at 1:00am the clocks rolled back to 12am, due to Daylight Savings, so I was officially in Boise 15 minutes before my plane touched down...sure.
The next morning, was peaceful and uneventful. I ran about two miles to burn off my “airport hangover,” a euphemism for air travel (and a double-meaning for drinking cheap airliner wine in transit). Jodi and I got the girls in the car and onto church, just in time. Beautiful service at Foothills Church in Boise Idaho (a small-to-midsize vanilla-brand contemporary church with Christian pop music and a modern application of ancient wisdom).
Cup-floweth-over, spirit rejuvenated, Jodi (not Jesus) taking the wheel, I check my iPhone newsfeed from the passenger seat as we make our way home. Yet again, another sickening, crushing wave of despair blasts the media outlets...over 20 shot, 20 more wounded at a small Baptist church in South Texas...stay tuned for more...a SUNDAY MASS...SHOOTING.
Under my breath, I say something to Jodi and the girls about the incident. We’re all silent, detached really...in a flashing moment of despair. Like most Americans I feel, in an effort towards self-preservation of our own community/family mental health, we have become disenfranchised from these deadly melees, praying first and foremost that it didn’t happen to us in our own backyard, when it very damn well could have...secondly, a prayer for the victims, passed and present, follows...
Let me identify and isolate a major contributing factor to these catastrophic mass attacks on our citizenry: America has fallen victim to moral decay and polarizing incivility from the top down. The viciousness of our civic, corporate, media, and even religious leaders towards one another and the populous at large, has elevated and expedited craziness in our society to unprecedented levels. Idiocy, vindictiveness, self-aggrandizement, scapegoating, and vitriol at the highest levels are poisoning the Soul of America...where there once was middle-ground and opportunity for consensus-building and working for the greater good, only contempt for neighbors remains...and grows. Craziness and hatred on full display from the top echelons of society serves only to exacerbate craziness and hatred throughout our own society and abroad. Destabilizing behaviors from civic leaders legitimizes and emboldens destabilizing behaviors across society, including those fringe lunatics, who unfortunately, enjoy unfettered access to weapons on mass destruction...yes, handheld weapons that would maim/kill 50 or 500 at a time are just as devastating as shoulder-fired rocket-propelled-grenade launchers that would do the same...yet the former is available at Walmart, next the Snacks/Chips aisle...the latter, not so much...
A professional truck driver with a Class A Hazmat/Tanker drivers license has to pass an extensive series of professional driver certifications and exhaustive Homeland Security/FBI background checks in order to be granted permission from society to drive 5,000 gallons of gasoline or liquified natural gas or bactericide through major metropolitan regions. And everyone in our society wholly agrees that this is the best course of action (including those in the oil and gas industry). Yet, professional level weapons training and certification, coupled with exhaustive federal background checks for firearms ownership/possession is somehow an encroachment on our civil liberties? No. An encroachment upon civil liberties is 600 dead or wounded at a country music festival. An encroachment upon civil liberties is a pastor’s 14-year-old daughter mowed down with an assault rifle at her own church on a Sunday morning.
Wake up, America. What are we doing to mitigate the craziness and the incivility? What are we doing to mitigate the slaughter of the innocents? Is this the best we can do? Why are we waiting/counting on the moral fiber/decency of our leaders, where there is none? My hope and faith rests with Moderate America...the silent majority of Americans who, sadly, no longer have representation in governance. These citizens “in the middle” of America are mostly good, fair, kind, noble, decent, honest, and hard-working...they are Americans first, over political party or ideology...they are their “brothers’ keepers.”
Who will keep watch over the next pew of pre-school children and elderly, gunned down with Bible (or Tanakh or Quran) in hand? How long do we keep turning a blind eye to a Nation under attack? If there were foreign adversaries on our soil inflicting this level of carnage, we would mobilize by the following Sunday.
“Love your Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind; and, LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR as yourself.” - Jesus
“Much of what we call Evil can often be converted into a bracing and good tonic by a simple change of the sufferer’s inner attitude from one of fear to one of fight.” - William James