What didn’t cause the tragedy in Tucson

There’s abundant discussion of what caused the tragedy in Tucson but it’s not one of the following.

It’s not Sarah Palin
It’s not Ed Schultz
It’s not Glen Beck
It’s not Rush Limbaugh
It’s not Fox “news”
It’s not MSNBC
It’s not that there are more guns per capita in the US than any other country
It’s not that we need tighter gun control
It’s not we have become desensitized to violence by graphic violence in the media
It’s not that the shooter is mentally ill
It’s not that owning semi-automatic firearms and unlimited ammunition is a right
It’s not the feeling of lack of control and helplessness that is exacerbated by our society
It’s not that buying a firearm is easier to do in America than any other country in the world
It’s not the 500 cable channels that blur the line between news and entertainment and distort reality in the process
It’s not that we place a higher value on talking than listening
It’s not that we don’t know our neighbors
It’s not that we are becoming increasingly less tolerant of different opinions and perspectives
It’s not the demagoguery of politicians who will say anything to be reelected
It’s not that we make decisions based on emotions rather than reason
It’s not that Americans are becoming xenophobic
It’s not that Americans have the ability to choose news that fits their preconceptions
It’s not that we believe aggression is the same as  righteousness
It’s not that we view civility is a weakness
It’s not that we consider mental illness a behavior and not an illness
It’s not that cable TV and video games have become primary care givers for our children
It’s not the disappearance of the nuclear family

There is no single statement that can be singled out as the cause for the tragedy.  It’s all of the above.  Society is the embodiment of a Complex Adaptive System where observable effects are the result of many seemingly unrelated and uncoordinated actions.  It is folly to think that we will ever know the single reason someone chooses to shoot and kill innocent people nor can the solution be found by changing one thing.

Maybe the beginning of the solution is to pick one item from the list and change it.  Maybe it’s your perception that Fox news is really unbiased news or maybe it’s that you think Ed Schultz doesn’t have an agenda. We can’t change everything but if enough people take a moment to think critically about their own contribution to the problem then maybe we can begin to make a difference.


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