Monthly Archives: May 2014

Thoughts on Isla Vista

Whenever there is a mass murder of any sort, but especially those that involves firearms, people begin to talk about gun control, focus their attention on the murderer, ask questions about the state of metal healthcare, and so on. All of these things are important and need a lot more attention than we have given them. But while these are necessary for a safe society, they are not sufficient.

The sorry state of mental healthcare and our lack of reasonable gun control are symptoms of a culture that is steeped in violence and bred on patriarchy. Violence and patriarchy are a lethal combination, as we see over and over. They live at such deep levels in our social and individual consciousness that we are usually not even aware of them. They are like the virus that becomes part of the DNA in our cells, waiting for the right moment to express itself.

Liberating ourselves from violence and patriarchy will be difficult. It will be painful. It will be resisted. It will require that we look ruthlessly and deeply into our souls, both as a culture and as individuals, and change the very way that we see the world. How many people are able, or even willing, to do that?

The deep change we need so sorely will not come quickly. It will not happen in my lifetime, surely, nor do I expect my children to see it. If it happens at all, it will happen slowly, steadily, one person at a time. It will happen with anguish. It will happen with uncertainty. It will happen with many a slip and slide and backward motion. But I believe it will happen.