Attempting to keep any political dialogue free from this blog has been like trying to keep my eyes open during a boring lecture. Before long my head stops rocking up and down and left to right and then I am snatched up by sleeps inescapable hook.
Waking up to another alert on my iPhone about a shooting in Nairobi, Kenya was disheartening to say the least. I hadn’t planned on waking up this way and I’m sure the mall, which is frequented by Kenyan elites and foreign expatriates also didn’t expect their day to unfold this gruesomely.
Thirty people have been reportedly killed and dozens injured. Sadly, those numbers are likely to rise. The New York Times displayed two men helping a woman climb out of a ventilation shaft inside a restaurant. Reportedly she hid inside until the gunfire had ceased. I wonder what’s written in Kenya’s constitution in regards to bearing arms? The country seems to be perpetually involved in conflict that I’m sure they will not be engaging in similar conversation like we do over here in America. While several American officials are viewing this as a terrorist attack, a lost life can only be viewed one way.
Why this is happening, is a question that many of us are asking ourselves while we watch breaking news and developing stories. What led the gunmen on this ravenous killing spree? And what could have been done to prevent this?
Last week, a man opened fire on a Naval Yard in Washington, killing 12 people including himself. On December 14, 2012, 25 young children were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. July 20, 2012, a man opens fire in a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado killing 12 people. In 2009, a man opens fire killing 13 people at a Soldier Readiness Processing Center in Fort Hood, Texas. Had enough? Unfortunately the list goes on and gets tragically worst.
Why is all this happening? It’s the guns, blame the guns everyone says. Down with the NRA and create tougher regulations on gun usage is common rhetoric that is heard nowadays. However, we all know what the problem is regarding the barrage of shootings here on American soil. Society and the lack of alternatives.
Now, let me jump to another tangent for a second. I promise I will get back on route shortly. About 2 hours and 15 minutes ago I read a study conducted by Dr. Carl Hart, which was titled ‘The Rational Choice of Crack Addicts’. Dr. Hart’s study focused on how crack addition is a societal problem and that with alternatives to crack, people are able to make rational economic decisions. Most crack addicts come from compromised environments which makes crack cocaine more enticing. At the start of each day a nurse would place a certain amount of crack in a pipe. The doses varied daily. While smoking, the participants were blindfolded and were not able to see the amount. Shortly after, the participant would be offered more opportunities to smoke throughout the day. However, each time a new offer was made, the participants had the choice of collecting $5 in cash or a voucher to a certain store. Dr. Hart noticed that when the dose of crack was fairly high, the subject would typically choose to keep smoking. But when the does was smaller, he or she would pass on smoking and take the cash or voucher instead. Very interesting. I thought crack reigned supreme no matter how small the amount?
Now back to the original route. Told you I would get back on track eventually.
Why are we so hesitant to turn on the news? Because we know another tragic human outrage from societal pressures and lack of alternatives is waiting to greet us on TV. Dr. David Nutt, a British expert on drug abuse asked the question of, ‘Why do we keep focusing so much on specific drugs? He answered his own question by saying, “It’s much simpler for politicians and journalist to focus on the evils of a drug than to grapple with the underlying social problems.” Well said doctor. Do you think the same can be said about the incessant shootings in America and overseas like the one today in Nairobi? Probably.
Is ALL human pent up aggression released by tragic shooting sprees in elementary schools and high schools? Are ALL shootings based on a lack of alternatives or societal problems? Are BANNING firearms and breaking down the scientific makeup of a drug the way to abate these catastrophes? Of course not.
Some individuals chose to take their own lives instead of others when despair reaches mountainous heights. Even though the Georgia school clerk, Antoinetter Tuff was able to talk down a gunman from opening fire at McNair Discovery Learning Center, not every gunman has reached his or her limits with society. Some are just mentally unstable and thus wreak havoc. And finally, while toughening regulations on firearms has the possibility to deter these ugly instances, banning firearms certainly will not. We humans are quick to adaptation; we will find other ways to create disaster.
“Eighty to 90% of people who use crack and methamphetamine don’t get addicted,” says Dr. Hart. “And the small number who do become addicted are nothing like the popular caricatures.” When will we set aside the objects present in these disasters and tragedies as the sole impetus and start focusing on the environment? Or the lack thereof. People need alternatives from the hell that they are living in.
Until then, I believe we will continue to hesitate about turning the news on for fear of seeing similar instances like the one today.