Friday, 8 July 2016

Five Dead In Dallas

I'm trying to wrap my mind around the events in Dallas, TX last night, the planned and orchestrated shooting of 5 police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest. No matter how I look at it, this tragedy will offer no good. I do not believe it will be a turning point, nor do I believe it will shock the USA into any sort of logical sense. It is just another in a long string of terrible shootings that have become a normal part of life in this once safe and proud nation.

I look at things like education in the USA, where children are being taught that science is bad and the only source of truth is the Bible. I look at the lack of knowledge around history, even their own history, which is so prevalent there. I watch as this once great nation destroys itself on a headlong march to theocracy and, dare I say it, fascism. I have to ask myself, where did this love of ignorance start, and when did it start?

Do children in American schools learn about the "Know Nothing Party", a political movement from the 1850's decrying immigration and the impact of German and Irish Catholics on American society? Do they learn that the people in this party were "nativist", wanting voting rights only for native born Americans, by which they meant Protestant white men?

Do students in America learn about the impact of money on the use of power? Do their history classes teach about the dangers of wealth concentration and the potential for violence, the kind of violence we see in America today?

When teachers teach that the Bible is an accurate description of how life came to be on this planet, when religionists build replica's of the fabled ark of Noah, when leaders use churches and synagogues and mosques and temples as tools for election, when people are armed to the teeth and given a boogyman as a target; when these things happen, social structures slowly and inexorably fail.

Dallas is not new. Orlando is not new. Sandy Hook is not new. Watts is not new. Detroit is not new. America, once a land of opportunity, has become a land of danger where it takes less information to buy a gun that it does to buy cigarettes, where shooting is common and where the Wild West is considered normal, even glorified.

Where will it lead? I don't know. Seeing it from the safety of Canada gives me some protection, but when your neighbours house is burning down, you'd better get a hose ready for your own. Flames spread, even when there is no need. And we, we Canadians, don't get to point a finger and "tut tut". We have our own problems, albeit not as dramatic as those below our border. We must keep our own house in order, before we tell our neighbour what to do.

But it is leading somewhere, somewhere frightening.


  1. Thanks Richard. I live in Dallas. I wish more people in the U.S. thought like you do.

    1. Hi Carolyn

      Unfortunately I see the US having a long way to go down before it hits rock bottom. There are more killings to come, and more sorrow will follow. I just have this feeling that your nation is on a slow descent into madness, and by the time you get it figured out, it will be too late.

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  3. Hey Richard. I live in Dallas and I wonder some of the same things you do. But I have been in education for 42 years (retired now). I have never known us to teach that science is bad. Not in Texas anyway. And we were taught about the Know Nothing Party back in President Lincoln's time. It has become a scary place. Enjoy you blog.

    1. Hi Leslie

      You got out on time, at least from education. Up until recently, it was illegal for American schools to teach a religion based view of how life came to be on this planet. First Amendment and all that. However both Texas and Louisiana have enacted laws which allow teachers to present "alternative theories to evolution". While not explicitly naming creationism, these laws have opened the doors to presenting Biblical stories as fact. What's worse is that pressure from churches and other groups have made it very difficult for teachers in these and other states to present evolution at all.

    2. "but when your neighbours house is burning down, you'd better get a hose ready for your own." Excellent point, one I think we'd do well to remember...

  4. Richard, First I would like to thank you for your posts related to ALS. My sister was diagnosed this spring after two years of testing. I just returned from a visit with her and the illness has taken it's toll in many ways. She is still the strong and determined advocate and finding creative ways to communicate and function. Your experience gives me a better understanding of the view from the inside.
    As far as this post about life in the U.S.A.: I miss the days when I was proud of my country, when my country cared about its people. Greed and individualism have been accepted into our culture without consideration of their effects on the whole. Good people are frustrated and find it difficult to find avenues for hope. I have a collectivist view of the world based on the simple rule of treating others as you would like to be treated. When sharing thoughts I have received objections stating my views are socialist (apparently that is horrible). Now I just keep to myself and try to remain ethical and moral in my life. I honestly don't feel that I fit in our culture anymore. Trying to keep the hope alive for future generations, but it's hard.