Hello dear reader(s)!
I wasn’t going to post something new today, but last night there was a shooting at a mall in Burlington, about an hour North.
And right now, I am listening to a self-congratulatory press conference from the police who basically know nothing and let the suspected shooter slip away. They will not say it is a terrorist act, but they won’t discount it either. They did not set up a perimeter, but worked solely on clearing the mall. They have not yet identified the victims. Either they are keeping everything quiet for their investigation, or they know nothing. In the meantime, they are puffing up their chests and talking about all the wonderful agencies involved and the excellent response that has yielded exactly zero.
Now, I understand that investigations can take time. I understand that the police might not actually know anything yet. I understand all of that. But do you know what I think should happen if they don’t? Press releases saying so. Not a press conference talking about how great they are as a suspected slipped away either due to a slower response or bad police work. I don’t want to hear about all the hard work clearing the mall when the shooter is still out there somewhere. I don’t care about who is taking the lead on the investigation.
Furthermore, this is the reason we have police. It isn’t to stop a vehicle of black kids and harass them searching for drugs. It isn’t to shoot people with car trouble. It isn’t to go on television and claim there is a war against you because some people think that there are poorly trained and even racist officers among them that need to be weeded out. It is to catch people like this when they hurt the public, in order to try to protect them from similar acts in the future. I don’t know if the resources they had committed to the enforcement of unjust laws like the war on drugs would have made a difference in the speed of this investigation, but I’m not going to discount that either, like they won’t discount that this is terrorism.
Then there is the mall. The footage is awful. The stores in that mall sell GoPro cameras, but use what seem like 80’s era surveillance. I have gotten better pictures with a child’s toy camera. Makes me wonder how they hold onto any of their merchandise, with such terrible technology. Gotta save a buck, I guess.
I also want to know where the good guys with guns were. Skagit county isn’t Seattle. It goes red. Washington has fairly easy to obtain concealed carry permits. Where were these saviors of the public with their right to bear arms? Were they running the other way in their Mossy Oak gear? What happened to them? It seems they are almost never around. As if the one or two times a private gun owner has actually stopped someone in the commission of a crime might not actually come near balancing out all of the harm that even law-abiding gun owners and their guns have caused by accident or failure to secure their weapons. But no, that couldn’t be, right? Then the NRA would be lying, and we just know that can’t be true.
Finally, I am sick to death about hearing how strong the community is. The news, devoid of facts to report on, but feeling it is necessary to only talk about what they have no information on, are reminding everyone how great the community is and how they come together in times of tragedy. What a community. The people here are good and caring people, never mind the guy who shot 5 people in a mall. As if people around the world think that the actions of this one piece of shit are representative of everyone who lives in the area. We get it, news. We get it.
But this kind of shit is becoming increasingly representative of humanity. Once we scrapped mental health funding in this country, and cut every program we could in favor of a bloated military and endless war, we have shown our priorities. We don’t give a shit about you. You’re on your own. You are just a piece of shit to us. And then we wonder why people decide that everyone else is a piece of shit too. We solve our problems with violence, as if all of human evolution from the days of warring tribes have been for nothing. People are under increasing pressure from companies who pay less and expect more. We are being watched everywhere, except for when it counts, and then are fed grainy surveillance images so the companies can save a buck. Nobody is reaching out to solve differences, only drawing battle lines.
In 2013, Burlington had a population of about 8.500. It is probably much higher now, along with the rest of Western Washington (fuck you, Amazon), but even if it three times the size, it’s still a relatively small place. It is the kind of place people fed up with this kind of bullshit move to.
So this shooting should show there is no getting away from it. There is no running away from the problems that occur when people are forced to live in a powder keg because we won’t confront the very real issues that cause things like this. Ridiculous gun violence isn’t just a problem in Chicago or Mosul, it can and will happen everywhere.
If we have a society that works to take care of its people, maybe we could have people who work to take care of their society.
I believe in the right to bear arms, but I believe in reasonable limits. I believe in a functional mental health system even though there is rarely any evidence to suggest that the criminals who engage in these acts were mentally ill, because I believe that everyone could benefit from mental health check-ups, just as you would for a physical. I believe in health care for all, and I believe that we have the capability in this society to take care of all of our basic needs.
But as long as we continue to treat people as though their lives do not matter because we got ours, someone is going to treat of all of ours as if they don’t matter in response.
You can spend all day arguing the morality of that, but you can’t argue the facts.