A few weeks ago, I was listening a discussion on BBC radio about the American soldier who killed 17 Afghan civilians. There was a panel of international experts repeating all the comments we had heard here: Don't blame the entire U.S. military; it has done a lot of good in Afghanistan; it was just this one man, etc.
But one commentator stopped me cold. He said to remember that this was an American. In our gun-loving culture, this is what Americans do when they "snap." This outsider spoke of our shooting-prone society as a cultural flaw much the way we condescendingly view tribal conflicts or sectarian violence in the rest of the world.
That was obviously absurd. Well, almost.
On Monday, I heard of the shootings at Oikos University in Oakland, Calif. Another college shooting. I was relieved to hear there were only seven dead this time, yet horrified at that thought. Only seven?
I've been desensitized by the repeated college shootings, high school shootings, workplace shootings, restaurant shootings, drive-by shootings, and stray bullets that pierce homes and kill small children.
Maybe we need to look at our society the way the commentator on the BBC does. If we could step outside of our history, outside of the NRA propaganda, outside of our court decisions, perhaps we could see a cultural flaw that is maiming the American dream.
ROCHELLE EASTMAN, SAVAGE