The Culture of Death: DALLE-E 2 Generated Image

American Carnage: A Culture of Death & the Illusion of Freedom

Héctor Vila
5 min readApr 16, 2023

MIDDLEBURY — On Sunday, April 9, at 10:28 p.m, Middlebury College received a hoax call of an active shooter in the Davis Family Library.

The Davis Family Library, once a symbol of knowledge and hope, has now become a trigger — a stark reality. Let me reiterate: a library, a place meant for learning, now incites fear. As students move about the campus, a sense of darkness prevails, knowing that a potential shooter armed with an automatic weapon could strike at any moment. This unfortunate reality is a reflection of the state of affairs in America.

In the U.S., elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools are triggers; colleges and universities, banks and post offices, and yoga centers are too.

The U.S. had 647 mass shooting in 2022. In 2023, there have already been at least 146 shootings.

We live under siege, the threat of sudden gun violence at every corner. This is what a culture of death looks like — unpredictable, unprecedented carnage at every turn.

How free are we when we move about our streets and places of learning and work with the always present thought of impending doom?

This is how terror wins, and how autocracies are built.



Héctor Vila

Writer & Teacher, Novelist, Essayist, & Cultural Critic, @hectorvila