Headlines today informed Portland, Oregon, they were the next unfortunate recipient of a tragic American public shooting incident. You can dive into Twitter, Facebook, or any other corner of the internet where people with human emotions dwell and witness a diverse cross-section of reactions: horror, terror, outrage, lamentation, grief, et al. There are other corners where you can pull quotes from those who bask in inhuman emotions, but there’s no healthy reason for that.
Sadly, stories about shootings are commanding so many front pages and conversations, as much from frequency as from simple impact, that we’re seeing numbness and moral surrender joining the social-media chorus in increasing numbers. I’m a proponent of directed prayer myself because I firmly believe that many things are parsecs beyond my control, but when it comes to talking preventatives or cures or root causes or coping mechanisms with others of differing beliefs, I fear the internet in general may soon run out of eloquence on the subject. How many more ways can we express indignation, extend comfort, and proffer wisdom over the same kind of event over and over again? Could we reach a point of having to reuse the same sentiments every time it comes up? At the rate we’re covering this same ground at length, I won’t be surprised to see Hallmark mining everyone’s retweets and reblogs for material to reuse in a new line of shootings-specific sympathy cards.
So what can we do?
Two issues seems likely, if souring to face:
1. There won’t be any new gun laws in the near future that will make a measurable difference. That way lies debates in any number of directions, most of which are beyond my scope. Anyone out there is free to prove me wrong by making some new laws and then showing me the stats after the fact. I realize this might take a while, but if it works, the necessary patience will be worth it. If.
2. Even if the greatest minds from Twitter, Tumblr, and local churches continue to craft the most beautiful, most stirring words of all time for each and every individual incident, the people most likely to become school shooters probably aren’t going to read them.
But if we accept these regrettably cynical postulates, then what can we do to end the violence and save lives? Anything at all?
I have ideas. So far they’re all science fiction, but a lot of them are just as likely to be implemented as new gun laws. So far my brainstorming list of possible methods and options to protect ourselves from random-shooting fatality looks like so:
* Bulletproof plastic bubbles
* Robot surrogates who live our lives for us
* Hermit fortresses with acid-filled moats and 24/7 Amazon drone delivery
* Mandatory arsenal laws: no one leaves home with fewer than six weapons and five years’ military training
* Genetically advanced bodyguards programmed to obey our every word and take every bullet for us
* Clone bodies stockpiled at home for easy consciousness transfer
* Relatives with time machines who vow to save us every time we’re slaughtered
* More invasive Minority Report pre-crime prevention programs
* Groundhog Day reset buttons
* Relocate America inside The Matrix so we can all dodge bullets together as a nation
* Creating a young-adult dystopia where Big Government has outlawed students, the #1 cause of school shootings
* Drugstores that hand out free prescriptions or snacks to anyone who feels anything less than peachy-keen
* More concerted, morally grounded efforts at parenting, education, and/or mental/emotional health treatment, unimpeded by special interests
* Vampiric immortality
I’m having trouble deciding between so many tempting patents in the making, so I’m thinking about starting separate Kickstarter campaigns for all of them. We’ll let the People decide which ones deserve funding. Remember: the faster you pledge, the sooner we inch toward making a difference.