Early this month, I wrote about America’s own suicide bombers, and how we are in total denial of our own brand of fanaticism. Instead of confronting our own problems at home, we’d rather preach to world — often times with military force or the threat of force — of the superiority of American-style democracy while we denounce the entirety of their religion and culture because of a handful of fanatics (comparable to blaming Christianity for the Nazis).
This is the American way. Since Sept. 11, 2001, when the country’s attention understandably turned to terrorism, nearly 120,000 Americans have been killed in nonterror homicides, most of them committed with guns. Think about it — 120,000 dead. That’s nearly 25 times the number of Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For the most part, we pay no attention to this relentless carnage. The idea of doing something meaningful about the insane number of guns in circulation is a nonstarter. So what if eight kids are shot to death every day in America. So what if someone is killed by a gun every 17 minutes.
. . . Murderous gunfire claims many more victims than those who are actually felled by the bullets. But all the expressions of horror at the violence and pity for the dead and those who loved them ring hollow in a society that is neither mature nor civilized enough to do anything about it.
When I tell people from Europe, Asia or the Middle East that I am from the Washington, DC area, they almost always respond by commenting on how dangerous it must be to live in the nation’s capital. We’ve earned the reputation as a place of dangerous and rogue murderers. Just as we feel superior enough to critique and place value judgments on every aspect of other cultures, doesn’t the blind eye we turn on our own domestic carnage say something about the values we keep? Our complacency is a fanaticism all its own.