by Quillon Orta
This first appeard in The Havok Journal on August 29, 2020.
Two days, two mass shootings. What has and is happening in our America that is causing violence to become an acceptable answer for these murderers? Why has our society become so non-committal to the real reasons that these horrific acts of evil are happening all too often?
I believe that it has deep seated root causes that go well beyond gun control and partisan politics. Don’t get me wrong, the guns are the tools these fools use to commit their crimes and the radical outspoken on both sides of our fractured political system are inciting certain thoughts and actions in these idiotic murderers’ minds. It is not, however, either of these things that is causing this break down in society.
I believe that it started in the 60’s and 70’s when individualism started to take over for community. I am not saying that being an individual is wrong; those of you that know me personally know that I am one heck of an individual. What I mean is the sense of family and community started to take a back seat to “do what feels right”. The Family and Community started to take a back seat to individualism and traditional ways of living started to veer off.
I believe that I need to provide a little background before I go further. I am a Cuban American, born in the United States to my immigrant Father and American born Mom. I was raised by my single Mom after my parents divorced when I was two. We lived in lower income apartments, but I never knew that there was any struggle for money. Mom remarried and we moved to South Georgia, Albany to be precise. In seventh, eight and ninth grades our schools were somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% black, 20% white and then me…the lone Hispanic. I am still known as “Taco” when I go home to Albany by many folks, even though Cubans do not traditionally eat tacos. I say all of this so that everyone reading this knows that I am not just another seemingly privileged white man dismissing the at surface causes to this sickness we are experiencing in our America.
As a society we have lost certain connections, in my opinion, that helped us know what to do when, right from wrong. I was taught to hold doors for ladies. I was taught to say, “thank you” and “please”; “Ma’am” and “Sir”. More importantly I was taught that there was no place for senseless violence in our lives. I and all of my friends knew that if we did something wrong that whomever parents were near would most likely punish us. The key word in my mind is senseless. To me it is senseless that we continue to have these attacks. To me it is senseless that we have slowly and continually lost our connection to Community and Family. To me it is senseless that there is a loss of connection to our society as a whole that causes us to suffer these acts of evil again and again.
There will always be sick individuals that perpetrate crimes on others, but we are experiencing an epidemic. I believe that there should be consequences for our actions, every single action. I believe that there needs to be early detection and intervention for mental health issues as clearly these murderers are suffering from some breakdown in mental stability. I believe that there needs to be real comprehensive discussion on what this says about our society, not talking points on singular aspects of the problems.
We have allowed ourselves, our society and our politicians to isolate and become combative. We have taught ourselves that I, as a man, should be strong no matter what and suck it up. We have taught ourselves that segregation is bad even as we practice it in our hallways every day. Not traditional black/white segregation but if you are not with “us” you are against “us”. Factions in neighborhoods, schools, offices and the corridors of our Governments are helping keep us from making sense of what is happening. We need to get to the root cause of why these murderers keep thinking that this is the answer. We need to move beyond partisan thoughts and come together as a community to help those who need help in a positive way.
I do not have the answers, but I am willing to engage with anyone who is willing to truly dig deep and find the starting point to solutions. I am willing to become a part of a community that stops fighting and instead acts as a holistic group to start real conversations that then create real actions.
The solutions are out there, we simply have to come together and make sense of what has and is happening and then move in the direction that helps us heal.