Newtown Shootings: It’s the mix that’s toxic.

December 17, 2012
Will Gadd

Newtown Shootings: It’s our whole North American culture that’s sick, and that likely includes you and me. Let’s top blaming segments and look at the whole: too many kids sitting around alone in dark rooms playing violent video games. Too little good health care, especially mental health care. Ridiculous NRA idiots (and I own guns, don’t start that). A society that widely believes in delusional idiocy like “The Secret” and religious fundamentalism is going to produce citizens who can’t tell the difference between reality and shooting other citizens. Eat complete garbage for decades, mix in anti-depressants, anti-hyperactive drugs, never exercise, never get smacked in the face with a tree branch or smell a fresh pine tree and reality will become something else. Watch greed-head TV where money and fake boobs are worshipped over taking care of others or being a good citizen. Continue poisoning our environment and ourselves with complex chemical interactions that are only faintly understood, but even what we understand is bad. Drill the hell out of everything with ever-more damaging environmentally disastrous methods so we can delay the inevitable transition to running our economy on something other than fossil fuels. Pay so much interest on the debt and money into the military budget (yet not spend enough on our serving soldiers or vets, another crime) that there’s not much left over. Mix in huge class sizes and low-paid teachers, and to me it’s not surprising insanity like Newtown happens, it’s only surprising it doesn’t happen more often. No one component in the above screed is fatally toxic (and I missed hundreds), it’s the mix that’s toxic.

So, North America, anyone want to actually CHANGE how things work? Get outside more often, eat better, have decent health care, get some reasonable gun laws on the books, stop driving around in cars so much, love each other more and be better humans? If the answer is yes then things might change, otherwise expect more Newtowns. So let’s stop looking at the one pet cause we all want to blame, and recognize that if things continue on as they are we are truly screwed. Change.

9 Comments. Leave new

Yep, it takes a climber/flyer/all-around-badass to figure out what most politicians (some of whom I work for), media and academic eggheads miss: there is no simple solution to problem like Newtown which is rooted in so many dysfunctions. Change won’t be easy, but it won’t start until we agree that there is a problem and that the problem isn’t nice and simple and easy to deal with.

Nice post, Will.

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You took the thoughts right out of my head. I wish i was more capable of communicating in words/text the thoughts that continually swirl around in my head.

The manner that you delivered your message/thought is right to the point with just enough attitude make your point but not drive away those whom do not quite see the light.

I do not really read your blog and just followed a link off another blog but maybe i should start..

Thank you for sharing your thoughts as you just added to my day in a positive way that i will now go share with those in my life.

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I agree Will. Society rushes to place blame and does’t take the time to reflect on how toxic it’s become. Maybe if we all treated each other with a little more respect and compassion, and had more positive ideals we wouldn’t experience so much violence. Unfortunately most people are too preoccupied watching sensationalized tv to think about much else besides themselves. Keep fighting the good fight.

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I’ve been thinking and writing about this a fair bit lately (just ask any of my facebook friends). I’m glad to see that I’m in good company in locating the sickness within the cultures/societies in which we live. There’s an over-emphasis and glorification on violence and conflict that goes way beyond sensationalism on TV. We find it in the very languagings that we engage in; the ways we’re constantly reconstructing our social world, and the definitions of masculinity, femininity, and so very much else.

I’m starting to think about the article you wrote some time ago about the anger that climbers brought into the outdoors and wonder how much that has been connected with the societies we’ve grown up in.

Thanks for the thoughts, and keep peacing the good peace.

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Getting outside and eating better…interestingly enough…results in better health care without added expense to the institution: two (or is it three?) birds with one stone. I have focused on the anti-reality drugs for anxiety, depression, ad nauseam as a prime cause for these specific variants of public mass murders, but still, I understand WHY they are taken by people, and that is where things become complex and balloon into this systemic toxicity we are observing. I think it’s a mistake to say that “we” are all a part of this. We may live in the same general bailiwick, but we don’t all live the same lives or condone the same cultural nuances that have led to these atrocities increasingly becoming the norm. Ultimately, nothing will ever change through force from within or from outside the system. As individuals, we need to look hard in the mirror and determine what is going wrong in our own lives, and change ourselves to be what we want to see in the world, to paraphrase Gandhi.

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Great post, Will.

Sad that we do live in a toxic world made up of shallow, violent, and selfish people who are too invovled in a dark, superficial, and “virtual” world then in the real world we actually live in made up of humans, animals, plants, and nature. I am a new father, and strive to expose my son to the beauty of the world rather than the seedy side than seems to dominate our culture. Things like getting outside and climbing rock and ice vs. staying indoors to watch TV and play video games. Eat a healthy home cooked meals with vegetables grown in our garden vs. ordering fast food. Waking up early to run vs. staying up late to binge drink. Respecting women vs. treating them like objects.

It is just so unfortunate all the wrong we’re doing and the kind of world we are leaving to our children.

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It is funny how people who spend most of their time outside and away from television seem to have the clearest perception of what is happening around them…Thanks for the words Will and all the golden nuggets of info you’ve provided me over the years.

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Well said, William. Couldn’t agree more.

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“never get smacked in the face with a tree branch or smell a fresh pine tree and reality will become something else”

This struck home literally the night of the Newtown shootings. My roommate had just finished watching some movie where people get chopped up, ‘glory’ shots of heads blowing up, etc… Can’t think of what it was but picture Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction. When the movie ended she switched to cable and the Discovery Channel was on, showing a lion stalking a baby antelope in Africa. She started to immediately freak out at the inevitability of the situation and began to scramble for the remote, nearing a panic attack at what she was about to see.

Baffles me how images of exploding human bodies in a glorified manner doesn’t even phase the majority of people while something as natural as animals preying on each other in the wild can’t be tolerated by most.

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