How September 11 Changed the Way I View the Las Vegas Mass Shooting

Some situations are Black and White to me. Some situations are clear as day, while others are shrouded in gray. To discern among these situations requires that I examine not only the world around me, but also search my own views-my own heart.

Since my immediate response and thinking surrounding September 11, I try to refrain from jumping on emotional bandwagons after terrorist attacks or mass shootings, including the attack in Las Vegas. I am attempting to learn from the past.


A Brief Background

When the September 11 attacks occurred, I was angry and grieved. People who were just as saddened and outraged at a horror none us had ever seen or experienced in our lives surrounded me. Like masses in the United States, I wanted justice, too. I wanted the people who were behind this tragedy to pay. People wanted us to go to war–to bomb our enemy—to stamp out the evil. Like them, I believed that attacking my fellow citizens, demanded swift eye for an eye retaliation by our nation. I saw the attacks in full color and the answer to deal with it was crystal clear.

But then, the news media shifted from a focus on Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein.

I remember pausing, and looking at the television in confusion, mouthing,

“What?”

I thought, “How did we go from bin Laden to Hussein? This does not make sense.” But people were upset and wanted to make someone pay. I wanted the enemy to pay, but… but… shouldn’t we get the right enemy? It seemed like it did not matter by certain groups because anyone brown, Muslim and from/in the Middle East were the enemy.

People across race even united in grief, anger, and a desire to protect our country at all costs. And, I like countless others, began to pause even more and question my own perspectives, especially the way people of different age groups began to retaliate against anyone who was Middle Eastern and/or Muslim in the United States. When I read reports of schools that allowed bullying of children and mistreatment of parents over it, I had no doubt masses, including Christians, were choosing an unrighteous path in this matter. Those who dared to challenge or question any of it often met dismissiveness to hostility. Emotions ran high.

I wanted justice, but not like this. I did not see justice as Black & White anymore in all the chaos. The situation devolved into gray and quickly to brown.


The Runaway Train

Forty-five days after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the Patriot Act happened.
Only forty-five days.

This action confirmed that our country speeded along on an emotional runaway train. People were so terrified that we willingly and unquestioningly forked over precious rights and freedoms because we needed to protect ourselves against terror-against the evil enemy.

I have a question for you:

Have you made time to actually read the Patriot Act and all the crazy legalese and changes to it?

I did.

Years ago, finally, I sat down and waded my way through it.
I am still disturbed by what I read.

Therefore, I do not make any apologies for continuing to think and question as a human being.

If most of the U.S. were experiencing the full extent of the Patriot Act right now, I think many would think twice about begging for more rights to be taken away. Our limited freedoms feel too comfortable—too free at the moment. Most of us are well fed and given lots of distractions via entertainment from social media to music to sports to keep us complacent.

All we have to do is vote and let the government do the rest, right?
Have you ever wondered why we have policy and legislation that are not easily understood/navigated by the very people they supposedly help?


A National Social Pattern Emerges

Increasingly and immediately after mass-shootings in the United States, hoards of mainstream media, politicians, and celebrities spend more time demanding for gun-control and stirring the emotions of people instead of waiting, so the public can logically and rationally analyze the direction of the nation. They push more policies all in the name of protection.
Last time I checked, sound decisions are not made when you are ticked off.

With this said, I am noticing a social pattern emerging in the United States of America. I do not have all the factors worked out yet, but right now it goes something like this:

Mass tragedy stimulus-> Mass emotional response-> Mass media, celebrity, and political catalyst (work different angles- gender, race, religion, etc.)-> Increased Mass emotional response-> Masses fight each other->???

What happens when this cycle is repeated over and over and over again?
What happens when the stimuli and catalysts are strengthened?
Isn’t it interesting how people are more encouraged to fight and push for something when they are emotional? Isn’t it interesting how people are encouraged to react in the moment when they are upset instead of thinking, questioning, and then acting?

Taking away the right to bear arms makes as much sense in the moment like how the Patriot Act made sense when people were upset after 9-11. I am not in favor of completely overturning every fiber of the constitution or of our nation because of tragedy. Of course, people do not need to have silencers for their weapons, but the notion of removing all guns from citizens, or legislatively moving in this direction is textbook asking for a tyrannical oppressive regime not a democracy.

So, even if gun control legislation is proposed, how many of us are going to make time to read it? How many of us will simply trust what the media and politicians tell us about it?

Have you noticed that I have lots of questions? 

It is for a reason. I believe now is not the time to act. Now is the time to pause, to reflect, to feel, and to question.

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