A family member in America tells me that the U.S. media is in a frenzy over the country’s latest shooting massacre, in which 20 young children were riddled with dozens and dozens of bullets from a semiautomatic rifle on Friday at their school. I’m not surprised: I am a journalist, after all, and American-born, although the greater part of my life has been spent in France, so I know something about how the press works, and something about how America works. No, I’m not surprised, but I am saddened.
It occurred to me, I said, that if Americans could somehow collectively leap out of their country and look at themselves from afar, they would be horrified at what they saw.
Americans believe obsessively in what they call « freedom, » but it looks more and more like they’ve lost sight of what freedom means.
They call their country « the land of the free » and « the home of the brave. » But how can owning and carrying weapons be cherished as a fundamental freedom? What’s brave about that?
Where is the freedom and bravery in arming oneself?
And by clinging to the illusory belief that « I » need never-ending protection against the endlessly threatening « you, » where is the freedom? And where is the freedom in the resulting murders and massacres?
Americans love to say, « It’s a free country! » But is it?