Will we ever be able to halt the violence in America? | The Tylt
Charleston. San Bernardino. Orlando. All American cities that have become shorthand for slaughter after gun massacres.
Eric Garner. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Names of human beings that have become hashtags circulated to demand justice after being killed by police, and rallying cries for the Black Lives Matter movement.
And now Dallas, where a peaceful protest against police brutality became a horror movie after a sniper shot police officers, killing five and wounding 12.
Can America address this horrific cycle of violence?
There are so many issues at play here: gun control, racism, mental illness. Each incident deserves individual consideration. And for many, America being a dangerous, unjust place to live is nothing new. But this past week has left many with a deep sense of hopelessness, and fear that our nation's issues are too deep-seated and intractable to solve peacefully. At Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall wrote that people feel as though the country is "starting to come apart." He also quotes Adam Smith, who famously said "There's a lot of ruin in a nation." Perhaps #WeCantEndViolence in a country built on so much of it.
But others point to genuine reform Americans have been able to make: advances in equality for women, immigrants, the disabled, people of color. Is 2016 really worse than 1968? We've passed legislation that protects children, the disabled, and LGBT people. And even if those advances feel inadequate, does that mean we stop trying? In a tragic irony, Dallas is a city that was held up as a model for its transparency and progress in police-community relations. And through it all, our violent crime rate over the last 30 years has seen a steady decline.
In the debates over torturing prisoners, POW survivor John McCain responded to the charge that these prisoners were terrorists by famously saying: "It's not about who they are. It's about who we are." Giving up means allowing the violence to change who we are. Even if you don't believe #WeCanEndViolence, we can't stop trying. We CAN make progress. We HAVE reduced and prevented violence...haven't we?
Can we stop this terrible cycle? Or are we doomed to repeat it?
Will we ever be able to halt the violence in America?