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We are reaping what we sow

Oct 8, 2017 By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer

Walking into the grocery store early one morning, I noticed a unique parking job near the main entrance. A 15-year-old Honda SUV with a dented rear door had rammed the shopping cart lane and was parked diagonally across a nearby handicapped parking space.

On the back door, just to the right and above the doormat sized dent was a Trump sign: "Make America Great Again."

It occurred to me that this was a perfect metaphor for the growing mess we find ourselves facing in this country.

Someone hoping for a change in an obviously desperate situation from a government that often couldn't care less how the average citizen existed, or someone similar, must have been behind the wheel. Most leaders of the nation is woefully out of touch with the hopes, dreams and even the daily survival needs of the people they are purported to represent, yet some cling to the vain hope that the system will change.

The horror that descended from 300 feet above Las Vegas last Sunday is just the latest in a mindless string of incomprehensible violence. Yet it is uniquely American.

Islamic terrorists blow themselves up in European cities, and we pigeonhole their actions as those of demented religious extremists. These same zealots run over people with trucks, crash airliners into skyscrapers, and battle each other with the fanaticism that only a true believer can generate, and we can't begin to understand why.

We don't suffer from that same ailment, but somewhere in the last decade or so we've decided to splinter our society via our own volition in a process that can only be described as Balkanization.

For those who don't know the term, Balkanization is the process where people are divided into smaller and smaller groups with hostile intent and then crowded together. In the case of the Balkans at the turn of the 20th century those groups were Serbs, Croats, Macedonians and Turks. It was no surprise that this process led eventually to the "War to End All Wars" beginning in 1914, and then to dozens, perhaps hundreds of wars across the globe after World War I ended in 1918.

These groups continue to hate each other over a century later. It's difficult to get people to change.

Monday morning's wall-to-wall broadcast of the mass murder in the city where "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" was tragic in its own right, but the real tragedy comes in the increasingly hollow phrases such as "thoughts and prayers," the camera-ready candlelight vigils, and the all too familiar displays of flowers, photographs, teddy bears and memorabilia at the latest site of uniquely American mayhem.

"When will it stop?" is often heard but never answered.In America, our elected officials often have solutions to problems that don't exist but increasingly have no answers to problems that we all face.

Fracturing our society into little groups of black versus white, rich versus poor, blue collar versus white color, and all the other trite little sayings is absurdly counterproductive, but incredibly lucrative at the same time.

There is money in divisiveness. The professionally offended are expanding. Catering to the offended is one of the fastest growing industries in America.Being eternally upset, outraged or insulted is easy to do. Working to solve a problem is much harder than just whining about it. That's why solutions are so hard to come by, but complaining is so pervasive that it has become the white noise of political debate.

How did we reach such a low place as a nation?

Some say it began in Vietnam, when lying to the American people became a sport for JFK, LBJ and Nixon. The loss of our innocence as a nation in the 1960s and early 1970s began the fracturing of America. It grew with the demise of the family, the gentrification into rich and poor, and the insane cult of celebrity that is now pervasive from coast to coast.

It manifests itself in constant protest and blaming. Does anyone else get tired of the incessant cry for more awareness? More sensitivity? More acceptance? After a while even the most gullible person stops believing the constant cries for help and turns a cynical eye to the problem.

At the end of cynicism, lost dreams and faded hopes lies a gun for far too many demented Americans.

The left claims it's the gun, the right clams that the only solution is more guns.Both extremes are idiotic and devoid of insight.

The crazed killer who murdered and maimed nearly 600 people owned 42 guns. Some were legal, but many were not.His jerry-rigged automatic weapons are illegal in all 50 states, even in the wild, wild west of Wyoming. Yet he had them, and no legislation will stop this.

Take a stand on gun control, and some clown will ignore the message and concentrate on calibers, clips vs. magazines and any other distraction he can find to get you off the fact that there are lunatics who should never own weapons but, in fact, own dozens. (Yes, a gun owner wrote this.)

We all hope that the light at the end of the tunnel holds a political solutions, but far too often it just holds the outstretched hand of a politician willing to make a few bucks in supporting the status quo.

I don't have the answer, but like most of us, I know the problem.Ignoring problems has made them worse, explaining it away has made it worse, finger pointing has made it worse, blaming selected groups has made it worse, and now we're reaping the fruits of avoiding the heart of our sick society.

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Editor's note: Staff writer Randy Tucker is a retired public school educator.

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