Column: Have Our Brains Gone Thru A Car Wash?

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Life is a Russian roulette. A game of chance. Or so I thought. I am now convinced the rules have changed and we are playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun. On a daily basis we witness acts of pure folly.

A religious fanatic goes on a rampage at the Jerusalem Gay Pride stabbing a teenage girl to death and wounding several others. ISIS beheads hostages and throws gays off buildings. A young man walks into a black church and kills nine, another one opens fire on two Army Recruitment Centers killing five marines, policemen are trigger happy on African Americans, drive by shootings are too numerous to count or even to make the news, family members shooting one another have become routine, a father who accidentally shot and wounded his 12 year –old daughter while teaching (!) her about gun safety wasn’t even arrested, two Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee filed yet another proposal that would allow concealed weapons on college campuses, movie theatres are shooting galleries, school massacres are regarded as class size reductions, and big city murders, most of them senseless and random, are sharply on the rise. The media and the “experts" focus on finding the “motive" as if, when it is found, and explained, everything is OK. Looking for simple answers is just one way we try to make sense out of a complicated world. Balloon makers, teddy bear manufacturers, flowers, candles, card stores make a fortune every time a make shift memorial is set up at the scene of one of these tragedies. It is the only futile way we seem able to respond to the madness around us. We have become desensitized to the bloodshed.

I am not getting into the gun control issue, it is a losing proposition; a dead issue, pun intended. Compliments of the NRA and the politicians who are in its pockets. This time my point is different. Perhaps the true human condition is madness and the so called normalcy is instead a transitory state of mind. It is becoming obvious that each and every human being (and there are seven billion of us) has in store a degree of folly with the capacity to switch it on and act upon it at any given moment. After all if we listen to the mothers, friends or neighbors of any of these killers they are described as regular quiet guys, at least until the day before they go on a rampage. And how can we cope without becoming permanently paranoid? We shrug and think: “Oh this cannot happen to me.” We are adapting, memory grows shorter each day and yesterday's massacre is old news.

We hit that virtual delete button in our short term memory and move on. But, if we are honest with ourselves, underneath our public veneer there is a growing streak of distrust. Aren’t we becoming constantly afraid that suddenly, out of nowhere and without notice, our husbands, wives, friends, neighbors or any of the strangers you brush up against at the mall grab, in a fit of inexplicable rage, that readily available AK47 and mow us down?

What kind of life is that? Is it the direction humanity is going?

To survive we need to have faith and trust in someone, anyone. We were raised to believe we depended on one another. We crave “normalcy.” Today it is just a probability, the roll of a dice. Instead of that Ralph Lauren polo shirt we might have to start considering investing in a bullet proof vest to go out. Perhaps it is the final stage of the evolution of our species as we know it. Even Darwin would be speechless. In an age of madness believing we are immune to it is in itself a form of madness.

Don’t believe me? Pick up a copy of DSM-IV-TR, it is an 886-page textbook published by the American Psychiatric Association, it lists every known mental disorder.

The most recent edition stops at 374.


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