Violence Doesn’t Pay – Can Georgia Become Too American?

Op-ed

The notorious epidemic of killing people in the United States has turned into a national problem of overwhelming gravity affecting the American citizenry not only physically but psychologically too. Take me, for instance: while walking the streets of the lovely little town of my habitual residence in America, I would catch myself thinking nervously of the chances of an unexpected wacko shootout happening at any moment during my regular recreational strolls in the neighborhood.

This uncomfortable sensation stuck in people’s minds is called ‘fear’, and one might have a good number of reasons for being under said stressful spell of fear. In the free (or not so free!) world, everybody is talking about the likelihood of being slaughtered right out of the blue, right in the middle of the street or in a dark alleyway. Isn’t this awful? I first went to America in the early and blissful 1980s and I think that little is left of what I saw then and there. The so called mass shootings have become a scary routine in the New World which, statistically speaking, is an uncontested champion of this infamous trade.

I am reading in reliable reference books that since 2013, there has been, on average, a shootout a day in the public, which makes more than 2000 shootings to date. To be fair, such atrocities happen not only in the United States but in many other places on our trouble-ridden planet too, but not in numbers like this. What is happening to the US, then? Well, this is too big and complicated a question to be answered in a small journalistic piece like this but finding a quick answer to it is not completely impossible. My most affordable guess is that the entire 400-year old American culture is currently going through a painful metamorphosis, but it is almost impossible to make a clear statement right now as to whether the ongoing change might end in something very negative or moderately positive for the nation.

One of the most noticeable factors of regular American lifestyle is a Hollywood cinematographic paradigm of the blood and violence usually reserved for movie screens: but it is gradually moving from screen to street, turning us all into the witnesses of a cruel bloodshed and human aggression that destroys the lives of innocent thousands.

Should this bother me so much? Yes and No. No, because I cannot cure all the vices of the world with my inapt and fragile hands, and yes, because there looms the prospect of Georgia imitating the dire paradigm of the West as it does almost everything else. Incidentally, I have nothing against useful mimicry, like a lucrative economy or promoting modern education, but I cannot accept the thoughtless mechanical copying of all that is called western, saying no to good old indigenous traditionalism and way of life.

There is something that scares me about where America is going today and how much Georgia is involved in the process of westernizing our society, which does not always mean ameliorating the life in the country. Let’s look at the general picture this way: modernization is good and even necessary, but roots are also very important. I can hardly imagine enjoying the fruits of scientific novelty and techno-economical modernity unless all those good things are grafted on traditional values and purely ethnic features that attract our foreign guests and friends like magnets to our culture. Would it not be perfectly acceptable for all of us to walk through that golden median safely and peacefully? I dare say this might work as the most powerful and productive national medium for making this beautiful land the paradise we’re all dreaming of. I understand that this kind of idealistic thinking is too far removed from real-life pragmatism, but thinking, at least the way I think, is not yet prohibited by law, is it?

By Nugzar B. Ruhadze

Image source: Karen Bleier/AFP via Getty Images

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