By Robert A. Vella

Go ahead, tell me this is all “normal.”  This weekend saw over 80 casualties from just the two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.  So far in 2019 over a span of 216 days, there have been 251 mass shootings in the U.S.  That’s an average of 1.16 mass shootings per day.  When I grew up in this country, such incidents were so rare that the expression “mass shooting” was not part of the cultural lexicon.  No, this isn’t normal by any stretch of the imagination;  but, young people are growing up today in a toxic dysfunctional environment where it is becoming a new normal.  And, the hate-filled rhetoric of a madman president in the White House is leading the way.

Something else is not normal too, and it is even more terrifying.  This one, however, is affecting the entire world not just a single nation.  Every year the disturbing realities of climate change become clearer and clearer.  A few years ago, I warned that the continuing growth of the human population was running headlong into a global food shortage caused by climatic impacts to modern agriculture.  Now, the IPCC is publicly acknowledging the problem with a report to be released this week stating that a catastrophe to civilization cannot be avoided unless we immediately transition to a more sustainable way of feeding ourselves.

If you are philosophically or ideologically inclined to welcome such news, then I submit that such attitudes are at least partly to blame for these problems for it conveys a lack of compassion towards our shared humanity which emboldens leaders like Trump who fuel the fires of hate and who deny the existential dangers of climate.  Furthermore, if you refuse to see how the myriad crises facing us are all linked to a single cause (i.e. our own human failings), then I submit that such a view is blinded to the lessons of history and to the painful realities unfolding all around us.

Mass shootings

From:  At least 9 dead, 26 injured in mass shooting in downtown Dayton

In a second mass shooting in less than 14 hours, at least nine people are dead and more than two dozen were wounded early on Sunday after someone opened fire in downtown Dayton, Ohio, according to police.

The suspected shooter was shot and killed by responding officers “in less than a minute” after opening fire, Mayor Nan Whaley said at a Sunday morning press conference. Police said they were only aware of one shooter.

From:  El Paso shooting being investigated as domestic terrorism and possible hate crime

Twenty people were killed and 26 people were injured when the gunman, identified by three sources as Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old white man from Allen, Texas, began shooting just after 10:30 a.m.

About 20 minutes earlier, a post on the online message board 8chan believed to be from the suspect laid out a dark vision of America overrun by Hispanic immigrants. The 2,300-word document, which police called a “manifesto,” was attached to a post that said, “I’m probably going to die today.”

The writing is filled with white nationalist language and racist hatred toward immigrants and Latinos, blaming immigrants and first-generation Americans for taking away jobs.


On Saturday, the writer cited a fear that an influential Hispanic population in Texas would make the state a “Democratic stronghold,” though he said “the Republican Party is also terrible,” because the GOP is in his mind pro-corporation, which can lead to more immigration.

From:  At least 20 dead in El Paso shopping center shooting as authorities investigate Texas man and manifesto

EL PASO — A gunman wielding an assault-style rifle killed 20 people and wounded 26 more Saturday at a busy Walmart and shopping center not far from the Mexican border, authorities said, in the latest mass shooting to shatter a community and shake the country.


Two law enforcement officials familiar with the inquiry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation, identified the suspect as Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old man from Allen, Tex., a suburb near Dallas. He surrendered to police near the shooting scene, authorities said.


One avenue of inquiry is a manifesto that includes remarks attacking immigrants and is sympathetic to a man charged with killing 51 people this year at two mosques in New Zealand, according to the two officials.

Related stories:

4 of 10 deadliest mass shootings have taken place in Texas

El Paso Walmart rampage marks 250th mass shooting in 215 days

Driver plows through crowd gathered at anti-violence rally in Wisconsin

Climate change

From:  We must transform food production to save the world, says leaked report

Attempts to solve the climate crisis by cutting carbon emissions from only cars, factories and power plants are doomed to failure, scientists will warn this week.

A leaked draft of a report on climate change and land use, which is now being debated in Geneva by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), states that it will be impossible to keep global temperatures at safe levels unless there is also a transformation in the way the world produces food and manages land.

Humans now exploit 72% of the planet’s ice-free surface to feed, clothe and support Earth’s growing population, the report warns. At the same time, agriculture, forestry and other land use produces almost a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, about half of all emissions of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, come from cattle and rice fields, while deforestation and the removal of peat lands cause further significant levels of carbon emissions. The impact of intensive agriculture – which has helped the world’s population soar from 1.9 billion a century ago to 7.7 billion – has also increased soil erosion and reduced amounts of organic material in the ground.

Related story:

Pacific leaders want summit focus on climate, not China

33 thoughts on “As mass shootings cause a crisis of death in U.S., climate change is causing a deadlier crisis for the world

  1. There’s a word in the statement you referenced that, I believe, hinders the impact that climate change has on most people, which is … a catastrophe to civilization cannot be avoided unless we immediately transition to a more sustainable way of feeding ourselves.

    In other words, I think people will continue to push aside the reality of climate change until sources report the consequences as immediate and irreversible UNLESS action if taken NOW.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I don’t see any difference at all in those statements. Furthermore, you continue to misrepresent public opinion on climate change. Just yesterday, I posted a story about Republican strategists who are very worried about growing concerns over climate within their party and particularly among young voters.


      • I think you misunderstood what I wrote. Public opinion may be changing overall, but there are many who are still in denial … and I tend to think it’s because many of the warnings don’t emphasize the immediateness of what’s happening, e.g., “unless we change … in the near future … there are signs of distress,” etc.

        To me, it’s like saying “there’s an asteroid heading towards earth but it likely will miss” … rather than “there’s an asteroid that’s on a direct path to earth and will hit the New York area in three days.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Please reread my statement (with emphasis) that you quoted:

          Now, the IPCC is publicly acknowledging the problem with a report to be released this week stating that a catastrophe to civilization cannot be avoided unless we immediately transition to a more sustainable way of feeding ourselves.

          I’d say that’s pretty immediate.

          Regarding the “many who are still in denial,” I will reiterate what I recently informed you of – that poll after poll shows only about one-quarter of American adults now deny the existence of climate change. This means that the political opposition to climate change mitigation is not based on public opinion, and is instead based on other factors such as campaign contributions and expenditures from big business (e.g. the fossil fuel industry), internal party politics and ideology (i.e. the GOP and conservatism), and religious affiliations (e.g. Christian fundamentalism).


  2. This is SO OBVIOUSLY a huge, long speeding, uncaptained train with only ONE conclusion Robert. And we’ve seen this train gaining more and more and more speed… as our political leaders standby watching it FLY BY!!!

    I hadn’t even finished processing the shootings up in Gilroy, CA at the Garlic Festival! 😮 WTF!!! I guess some school campus is up next in these coming days, then what… then where? It’s beyond madness now.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Your introductory commentary is spot on, Robert. Sadly, this is our new normal. We should see this violence as the thermometer of the angst of those left behind in humanity’s economic progress in which only a few have reaped the benefits.

    What’s more, I believe that the violence will increase as more communities suffer from the fallout of the climate and environmental crises that are already upon us.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. There have been many visions of apocalypse in human history, but now that it is really happening, still too many people simply ignore the real and obvious abyss which is opening everywhere on the world while praising a globalized and unbelievable stupidity.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I have a 🔧 to throw into your works 😁
    What if – our entire sense of modern “security”, was a post-war political fiction? Pre-internet, didn’t we live in a sort of controlled reality, believing everything was reasonably okay even when it wasn’t?

    Liked by 1 person

      • True, but that’s region specific. Elsewhere the world was on fire. Iran/Iraq, Nicaragua, military police wreaking havoc in parts of South America. And weren’t crime stats in the US considerably higher too? Drug wars, gang wars etc. The sense of relative safety was based on the limitations of information rather than reality.


        • You’ve opened up a very big can of worms. Yes, when I grew up in the 1960s, there were distressing urban crime problems, violent racial tensions, widespread Vietnam war protests, and troubles of every sort overseas. However, at all times society was acutely aware of them. There was no false sense of security back then as you implied, quite the contrary. Social unawareness and blissfulness are much more prevalent today in America than 50 years ago.

          Still, my editorial commentary in this post spoke specifically to the rise of mass shootings in the U.S. and to its relationship to larger global issues such as climate change. What’s happening now is nothing short of an existential crisis, and it is a worldwide phenomenon.

          First of all, the 1960s were certainly turbulent; but, America’s political system did not split the nation in two over polarizing cultural issues as it is doing today. When it came to the health and safety of the country, Republicans and Democrats worked together on those issues (e.g. civil rights and voting rights). That sense of service to a higher cause is completely gone now, and that is a very dangerous change.

          Secondly, the post-WWII period was definitely threatened by the prospect of nuclear war, but people back then knew that it could be prevented by our leaders (which it was). Today, the grave threat posed by climate change and overpopulation seem beyond our capacity to control and that is a far more frightening prospect because it appears to be unavoidable.

          In the 60s, economic growth, prosperity, lifespans, human health, and many other aspects of civilization were improving. Today, we’re witnessing a great reversal. People can feel this, it’s a palpable experience. It’s the fundamental sociological difference between then and now; and, it is the reason why what’s happening today is not “normal.”

          Liked by 2 people

  6. This scenario was referred to in Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful”. He pointed out that as societies got more populace there would be more disasters and more large scale disasters.And societies dependent on sophisticated technology are particularly vulnerable to sabotage.
    There were also experiments done on rats in the sixties. Rats are highly social, much more than we are. When they were overcrowded their social norms of cooperation and non aggression, etc, broke down. The young and females were gratuituously attacked.
    When people are living under stress, it doesn’t take much to push someone over the edge. That is why I am not sympathetic to the demos in London obstructing traffic. Cities are like a pressure cooker about to explode – to add to the problems where people are already living at the limit is irresponsible. But obviously the problem is too many people.
    But space, peace and quiet are fast becoming luxuries that only the very wealthy can afford. LIke the situ in MInority Report.

    Liked by 2 people

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