Instead of blaming pro-gun activists, or the entertainment industry, or misogyny, or racism, or whatever else key words we are so keen to use to label anything we are too afraid to understand, why don’t we look within ourselves?
The UCSB shooting was out of hate. Nothing else. Just hate.
So why do we choose to produce even more hate after a hate crime? Why are we wasting breath exploding into tangents of debate? Why do people criticize Elliot Roger for being entitled, yet feel entitled enough to say, “Nope, he’s not like me at all. I’m better than him. What a freak.” When in actuality he is but an amplification of the evil that is within everyone? Can you honestly say that you have never had at least a single thought that is completely judgmental or entitled? Why do we react to hate with hate, instead of a motivation to reflect upon ourselves?
Sure we can say, “Let’s not have another mass shooting.” But how? How do we expect our legislators to achieve that? Take away guns? It seems every other day we hear about a shooting, but how often do we hear about the times when a life is saved because of a personal gun? How will we defend ourselves in the event of a police riot? Look, I grew up in San Francisco. I don’t own a gun. The majority of my friends and family don’t own a gun. Some have never even seen one. But I am not going to advocate for taking away the right to own guns from thousands of Americans for whom it is an integral part of their culture. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.
Why don’t we teach that violence is not the answer? Why don’t we advocate respect? Why don’t we have stricter gun laws, and make gun safety or self-defense classes regularly available? Let’s stop slapping band-aids on problems, and actually fix them.
Sure we can say, “Stop objectifying women.” I am always the first in line to rally against chauvinism and rape culture. But how can we throw out such a blanket demand and expect something to happen?
Should we no longer have female models? Or male models? Or the modeling industry in general? Should we eradicate the concept of beauty? What about the supposedly anti-objectification “real women” movement? Do we punch every cat-caller on the street in the face? No, we teach men it’s not okay to disrespect women, and we teach women to not disrespect men.
And honestly… those “spoiled blonde sluts” Rogers talks about? They exist. Does it mean they deserve to die? Of course not. But let’s stop painting them as pure, innocent victims. We’ve all encountered vicious, snobby girls who are disrespectful, entitled, judgmental, and harmful to those outside of their exclusive social circles.
So let’s teach each other kindness. Teach ourselves humility and equality… hate doesn’t spawn from thin air. It metastasizes over time. Yes, Rogers was crazy. But it doesn’t make him fundamentally different from you and me. He is merely reacting, albeit to an extremely amplified degree, to the feelings and stimulants that assault us everyday.
You can’t fight fire with fire; and you can’t fight hate with more hate. Reflect upon yourself. Whoever you are, wherever you are. Whether you are sitting on a precarious rung in society, or you couldn’t care less about social structure. Reflect on who you are, how you act, and how you treat people… and use this tragedy to become a better person.