CITY ON A HILL
The title of comes from The Book of Matthew;
“Ye are the light of the world. A city
that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”
- Matthew 5:14
Presidents, writers, and speakers have often used the passage to illustrate the superiority of the American way and the paternalistic assumption that we set an example for the rest of the world.
And yet, citizens of the United States accept public shootings, often motivated by religious persecution, homophobia, racism, misogyny, and stigmatized, ignored, and untreated mental illness as a way of life. It happens in schools, religious centers, movie-theaters, malls, abortion clinics, night clubs, and street corners. I cannot know or fully understand all of the suffering. I have not experienced every layer of oppression, shock, or loss. The belief in our own powerlessness allows us to accept it.
The soundscape includes interviews and coverage from shootings at Sandy Hook, Tree of Life Synagogue Pittsburgh, and Santa Fe High School, the Song of the Blessing of the Torah, Amazing Grace as performed by Liz Wright at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Mr. Bean laugh track, K-3 students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance for Dougherty School Open House Presentation, and the Blessing of Shabbat.
An Incomplete List of Shootings in the U.S.A.
Columbine High School, 1999 - 13 dead, 24 injuries, semi-automatic rifle
Virginia Tech, 2007 - 32 dead, 23 injured, semi-automatic pistols
Fort Hood, 2009 - 14 dead, 32 injured, semi-automatic pistol and revolver
Bermingham, 2009 - 13 dead, 4 injured, semi-automatic pistols
Geneva County, 2009 - 10 dead, 6 injured, semi-automatic rifles, revolver and shotgun
Sandy Hook Elementary, 2012 - 27 dead, 2 injured, semi-automatic rifle and pistol
Aurora, 2012 - 12 dead, 70 injured, semi-automatic rifle, pistol, and shot gun
Washington Navy Yard, 2013 - 12 dead, 11 injured, semi-automatic pistol and shotgun
Orlando Nightclub, 2016 - 49 dead, 53 injured, semi-automatic rifle and pistol
San Bernardino, 2015 - 14 dead, 24 injured, semi-automatic rifles
Las Vegas, 2017- 58 dead, 422 injured, semi-automatic rifles and revolver
Sutherland Springs Church, 2017 - 26 dead, 20 injured, semi-automatic rifle
Stoneman Douglas High School, 2018 - 17 dead, 17 injured, semi-automatic rifle
Thousand Oaks, 2018 - 12 dead, 12 injured, semi-automatic pistol
Pittsburgh Synagogue, 2018 - 11 dead, 6 injured, semi-automatic rifle and pistols
Sante Fe High School, 2018 - 10 dead, 14 injured, shotgun and revolver