Like everyone I know I woke up the other day to the heartbreaking news of the vicious gun attack in Las Vegas. As with all of digital culture these days the news had barely sunk in as a political and divisive onslaught occurred on social media. The combination of the news and the harsh arguments had me again wondering about the connective or dis-connective powers of digital life.
While I am getting more and more comfortable in understanding that I don't have all the answers to major societal issues that are complex and involved personal rights and freedoms, I think everyone I know believes that a moment like this demands people question whether we can do better.
My artwork over the past five years has responded to gun violence in a number of ways. Meditation on December, created in 2012, was created in response to Sandy Hook. The nightmare of children in December being delivered a massacre instead of presents and joy still carves a pit in my chest.
I have also written poetry like the piece "Gun Shy" that wrestles with the idea of Native American Ghost Dances and the Remington Repeating Rifle. There is a connection for me that American culture-- as we know it-- was won by tragic gun violence and enabled by the invention of the Remington. Today these same technological advances seem ready to rip this culture apart.
I'm in favor of defending individual civil liberties. I'm in favor of making less art just to cope with tragedies.
The Declaration of Independence states that Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness are unalienable rights endowed by God. Before we protect any other idea of America, it may be time to start protecting lives.
For more about my piece "Malaria Spring," you can see some of my work on Redbubble.