A Time for Anger, And a Time for Change


By Kevin Wilson

Remember when the worst part of a country music festival was the music?

Ah, those were the days. And then a subhuman piece of filth who doesn’t deserve to be given an identity, much less granted the notoriety he so clearly desired, opened up on one in Las Vegas from his hotel room.

Fuck that guy in particular.

I hate writing these after tragedy pieces. I hate that it’s necessary. I hate that we live in a world where all it takes is one deranged individual with a grudge and an elevated vantage point to snuff out so many lives. I hate that the 24 hours news cycle has that sack of shit’s face plastered all over the fucking place, like he’s some sort of goddamn celebrity.

Fuck.

That.

The motherfucker’s dead, so it’s not like we can do too much to punish him, but we could have at least deny him the pleasure of being infamous on the way to hell. But nooooooo, gotta get those sweet ratings, yo.

It’s times like these that we see the ugly side of humanity in full 1080P HD. It took less than a day for politicians to start using the shooting to push a political agenda, and for charlatans to use it to make a quick buck. The internet sleuths over at 4-chan misidentified the shooter within a matter of hours, and tried to claim he was a member of Antifa. ISIS claimed responsibility, because of course they fucking did.

Let’s be clear: if you find yourself in any of the above categories, you can go straight to hell. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go jump in molten sulfur for the remainder of eternity. You’re scum, and if there was any doubt before, we all know it now.

But, in spite of all that, the best parts of humanity also came out to play. Despite the hail of gunfire, cops, first responders, and random civilians risked their lives to help the wounded. Knowing full well that the shooter had access to at least one fully automatic weapon, police still stormed his hotel room, prepared to give their lives to save others.

And then there’s that one beautiful bastard who stood tall, beer in hand and finger to the sky, as the bullets rained down. If ever there was a monument to human stubbornness and that peculiar American tendency to face death with alcoholic belligerence, that photograph would be the centerpiece.

When shit like this happens, it’s easy to focus on the bad. The natural human tendency is to fixate on the horror and bloodshed, and that’s a shame. It’s in the darkest of times that the light of hope shines brightest, and we need to focus on that hope now more than ever.

It’s not easy. I’m pissed. We, as a country, are pissed. We want to rant and rage, and to an extent, that’s not a bad thing. We need to let the world know that we’re not okay with this shit. We need to let ourselves know that we’re not okay with it. But, when it’s all said and done, we need to also remember that, where there is life, there is hope.

Humanity is a mixed bag to be sure, and days like today, I’m all for cleansing the gene pool with a giant asteroid. As the great philosopher James Maynard Keenan once said:

The only way to fix it is to flush it all away

Any fucking time, Any fucking day

Learn to swim, See you down in

Arizona Bay

But ultimately, that sort of nihilism, while attractive in the short term, is counterproductive. It’s a way of absolving ourselves of responsibility. Nothing matters, so why should I try, right?

Except, that’s not exactly it. We do matter. The good we do, the good we can do, that makes a difference. If this tragedy is going to shape our nation, then let us choose to make it a change for the better. Let the reminder that life is short, and that there are those out there who would make it shorter, spur us to put aside our differences, to work together to bridge the political and racial divides that have widened over the last few months and years.

It’s either that, or make damn sure that the folks who died, that the folks who die every day in senseless acts of violence, died for nothing.

Your call, America.

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About

Kevin Wilson is an artilleryman in the North Carolina National Guard. His hobbies include reading, writing, and looking down on Star Trek fans. He also enjoys whiskey and long walks on the beach, so long as they don't actually involve long walks or beaches. You can follow him on Twitter @gatling216 but we really wouldn't advise it.


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