Landscape of Violence

What happens when violence is so commonplace, it’s often normalized?

Gun violence is almost as predicable as the sunrise and sunset. When I was a kid, I often asked myself, “What would happen if, for 24 hours, nobody died?” I didn’t just mean in my neighborhood, or city, or country — I meant the world. Oh the dreams of a child.

I can accept that there are natural causes that end life. I can almost accept that chronic disease, famine, and war take a large number of lives every day. But gun violence, and our gun culture, lives in state of dissonance. Below is a video I shot as the calendar flipped from 2018 to 2019. The shots began about 10 minutes before midnight and continues until nearly 2:00am. This is approximately 30 seconds of the barrage.

The St. Louis Police Department encouraged people to call 911 and report gunfire. But what good would reporting it do? None. In this instance, guns were not used for violence, but for celebration. They were not used to end a life, but to ring in a new year. However, it was still an unlawful act. It was still irresponsible gun ownership. And to crackdown, would probably rile up the NRA crowd. So, guns remain part of the landscape, the fabric, the core DNA of the United States.

Several pundits have been making claims that a boarder wall, even if it prevents one senseless death, is worth it. To be against the wall, is to be against the safety of the American people. Yet, these same pundits, won’t swap out “wall” for “gun control.” There is some strange belief that the US government will rise up against its people and each family, with their well-armed band of freedom fighters, will prevail. Gun culture protects a myth at the cost of a violent reality. They are concerned with what if instead of what is.

God bless America, land that I fear
Stand beside her or fight her
With my guns that I make sure are near

With the bullets and the violence
Build a future without hope
God bless America, my sad, scared home

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This is America