Sandy’s Target Practice:

Flying back from Canada was a pretty interesting adventure. The day before my flight back, it was looking dim: Flight 4645 to NJ cancelled, Flight 1082 to CRC cancelled. Newark closed. La Guardia closed.

How was I supposed to get back?

There was only one way to find out. I got up at 3:30 am and took a taxi up to Pearson. By 4:30, I already had a seat on the next flight leaving to Panamá. The connection to Costa Rica was a breeze. But then I got to thinking, as I waited for my plane to take off. I had seen the news: New Jersey was devastated. New York had power outages all around. The transit system up and down the Eastern seaboard was chaotic. Obama and Romney were taking this as a political leap into a sure election.

But what about the Caribbean?

Sure, and I do not want to diminish the impact of Sandy in the U.S., the shore was devastated. Casualties piled up to 113. And the Caribbean had 72. No news broadcast mentioned them. No one highlighted that Haiti, still recovering from a tragic earthquake, had no means of defense against the storm. No one talks about the fifteen thousand homes devastated in Cuba. I guess the term Deadly Sandy can only apply to the U.S.

To the rest, it’s just target practice.


Cuban streets, images belonging to the Guardian U.K.


The Dark Night Rises

And so, as the clock struck midnight, the bullets flew from side to side, bangs deafened the screaming and gunshots muzzled the feared, silencing it for eternity. Twelve people died and fifty-eight are now in hospitals. I can picture myself there, in the emergency room, probably just doing inventory, then the doors blast open and in comes a gurney with a twelve year old boy–two shots to the chest, one to the knee–and the darkest of prognosis.

What happened? I can see myself confused, just rushing to the corner and stepping away from the chaos. I have nothing to do. I want nothing to do with this. It’s obvious, no one has to tell me, I just leave the emergency room and wait for the chaos to subside, which won’t happen tonight, or tomorrow. It will take a couple of months, three perhaps. Then most of society, except for a handful of saddened relatives, will forget until it happens again. And it will.

It will happen because we are too violent and we are happy with it. A crowd cheers an athlete that hits another one, a crowd cheers when a superhero smacks the shit out of the villain—probably a black or Asian enemy—and a crowd cheers when a country wins a war. We are too competitive and we justify success directly with it: we celebrate when our nearest competitor declares bankruptcy since it means more money for us. We are too selfish and we are happy with it. And we are all guilty.

But, strangely, that’s not what worries me. With the amount of people in this world, it was bound to happen. What worries me is this: if we were to tell someone, anyone, within say, a mall, that in the parking lot there are thousands of rounds and rifles, ready to be used at the flick of an “insanity” switch, people would flee, the building would probably be evacuated and abandoned within seconds.

Then why didn’t it happen?

Stricter security measures? Not useful. Social places are ideal for relaxation and tougher active-security measures would render us tenser and, hence, more violent. The idea that suppressing the likelihood of another attack is a thing of the past. Corrective actions shouldn’t happen, especially in this age of technical advances and “the peak of society as we know it”. Maybe passive-security measures will work.

Tougher gun control? Probably will work, though I know many friends with rifles and guns that won’t go on a killing spree. Again, I know many I wouldn’t trust a gun with.

Lesser violence? Surely. After all, humans are formed in their houses.

More education? Definitely.