I know I’m a little late to the discussion, but seeing as the entirety of the world is atwitter discussion the tragic events that occurred in Connecticut last week, I figured I should offer up some sort of thoughts regarding the matter.
First, it goes without saying that every time something like this occurs, a piece of our innocence as a people is lost. Each and every one of us feels a little more scared, a little more lost, and a little more angry. Groups like the Westboro Baptist Church only make everything more difficult, as they ante up the emotion aftermath that much more with their scene-stealing shenanigans. No one can hear stories like these without having an immediate emotional reaction. Unfortunately for some that reaction is one of anger.
Others immediately turn toward political discussions, more notably with regards to gun control.
The reactions to these events can, in many ways, trivialize the entire nature of the event, as we are suddenly thrown into a nationwide argument about how best to respond to such a tragedy. It is, quite honestly, sickening to me to see how quickly the focus turns away from the individuals who are suffering to getting back onto soap boxes which are now being propped up with new debate topics.
That being said. . . I have yet to read a single article, listen to a full news report, or even actually gather a full comprehensive summary of what occurred last Friday. This is not due to a lack of interest. It’s not due to me feeling far enough separated from it all that it doesn’t effect me. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Our nation gets itself into quite a frenzy when things like this happen on our own soil. Each and every time we react as if this is something completely new, although who can truly forget the Columbine disaster that occurred over 13 years ago. . . 13 freaking years! This isn’t new, this is an ongoing disaster, a disaster where our youths are feeling displaced enough, depressed enough, just goddammed stupified enough about the world that they just don’t know how to live in it.
But this world isn’t just tainted by our youths. . . ever since the September 11th attacks our nation has lived in a world haunted by fear, propelled by it even. I still hear comments from some of my less-informed friends/acquaintances about how the Muslims are ready to kill us all and how we need to attack first. . .
Fear. . .
One of the key natures of life is fear. Look at animals. . . many are ready to scurry away at the first sound of anything (except for those dumb deer who keep wanting to plow into my car). Look at human babies, crying in the night because they fear their parents have abandoned them (because if they aren’t seen, they must be gone, right?) or children staring wide-eyed at shadows in the dark, certain some monster is ready to leap upon them and attack.
But fear can only last so long before it turned into something else. The old concept of a cornered rat holds true. . . fear, when it reaches its heights, becomes something entirely different.
In our world today, we are cultivating a sense of fear everywhere. To some degree, this is well warranted. Outside of the walls of our nation, stories far worse than what happened in Connecticut happen on a much more regular basis. Children, parents, teachers, whoever are being raped, bombed, shot, and all numbers of other horrible things way too often. There are monsters that lurk in the dark. . . they just tend to be other humans.
Yet, we respond with fear. . . we are reactionary creatures of course. We want to lash out at those who attack us, or scare us. We are in a never-ending feud with those things that frighten us, much like the Hatfields and McCoys. We, as a nation, live in fear.
That fear comes in many different colors, however. We’re afraid, of course, that some “guldurned terrist” is going to come into our house and kill us. . . but we also afraid that our own nation is going to be the end of us. The political discussion today constantly shows fear that the other side is going to destroy our nation. Government’s going to take all our money, big business is going to take all our money, social reform will take all our money. . . it’s all fear.
But where is the other side of the mask? Our lives (as a nation, not you specifically) are lived in tragedy. We require tragedy. That’s why the news goes nuts over stories like the one that happened last week. We eat that shit up. But did you realize that after a decade of being a place of complete fear, Zimbabwe is finally in a state of relative peace? Do you care?
What about the man who recently went around New York and New Jersy handing out $100 bills to victims of Hurricane Sandy? Oh, that’s considered a fluff piece, I suppose. . . not the hard hitting journalism we expect from everyone.
But what if these types of things were the headlines? What if we spent our time congratulating our fellow man on their awesome deeds instead of focusing on all the things that are going wrong around the world? Would it be possible that we then might finally see a shift in how mankind finds themselves? Could we possibly be transitioned from a position of fear to a position of ambition?
I’m not saying we should ignore these tragedies. They must be made known, we must be there to help our fellow men and women. Humanity works best as a community. But we CANNOT live only in the tragedy, we must also live in the highlights of life. There’s a helluva lot of good going on around the world. Be aware. In fact, you yourself probably have a great deal of good happening all around you right now. Perhaps you should send some of those well-wishes to those who need them.