Tuesday, October 22, 2013

When Did We Become So Angry?

So yesterday's news - another school shooting, this time in Nevada with at least one teacher dead and two students in the hospital. The shooter took his own life. What a waste. It was the thirteenth school shooting in America this year.

Michael Landsberry, a teacher and former Marine with
tours in Afghanistan and Iraq behind him, died as he attempted
to wrestle the gun from the 7th grade student shooter. The
teenager later shot himself. 

Twitter comments about Mister Landsberry from the students he touched.

I have to wonder - when did we, as a society, become so angry? When did "Make Peace, Not War" morph into "Firearm Justice"? Have we moved back in time, deciding to have personal disgruntlement and arguments solved by walking towards each other at high noon, guns blazing? What the hell is wrong with us?

Love the entire imagery of this picture. 

I don't know of many religious beliefs that do not espouse peace between peoples, no matter what angry or vengeful god they may portray. I do know of many interpreters of divine will, however, who narrow their focus so much that they close off the majority of the world's population as "unworthy". Unworthy of what? Who knows. I don't know of many people who don't have a better time hanging out with friends than with people with whom they feel uncomfortable. But it's become too easy to point fingers at those who are different, to bully or physically abuse those who are perceived weak, or to take out aggression and perceived slights upon others in a mechanized and violent way.

Stop bullying. Stop allowing one person to feel good at the expense
of another. Celebrate diversity and individuality.

This is America, and as much as I love my nation, I know the issues of gun availability in this country. In fact, I remember discussions with friends over the years where said I felt sorry for any foreign nation which might want to take over our country. The US would become a guerrilla war fought from house to house and town to town because in any given block, there are hundreds of firearms. Are you frightened yet? Maybe we all should be!

"Call of Duty" is one of the more popular 'shooter' games for
video players with a new version due out soon.  Will
it become real on the streets where you live? 

Somewhere, somehow, something has gone terribly wrong and we're losing a generation. They are feeling forgotten, ignored, and abandoned. When my generation felt that way, we banded together with love-ins, music that is considered classic today, drugs (some not so good, but others generally positive) and mostly passive anti-war demonstrations. We put flowers into the end of rifles and mourned the dead of Kent State. We gathered at the Haight and at Woodstock, had love-ins and sit-ins, and as we aged, we become responsible for the laws and running of the nation.

I remember this picture from when I was young. Although protesting was not always
directed in a way that helped in the long run, the protests were peaceful, not
violent in nature. They were flowers and sit-ins with guitars and marijuana, not
secondary school students coming to school with semi-automatic weapons to shoot
as many people as possible before committing suicide.  

Ooops! Did we f__k up? The generation before us, those who fought in World War II, is often referred to as the "Greatest Generation". Will we look back on the heritage of the baby boomers and see that we took that great promise handed to us and threw it behind us into the nearest trash container? I'm amazed that we seem to be focusing on nothing more than our material wealth, our retirement incomes, and our insular lives. Something is drastically wrong in this country right now. These school shootings and the general anger that seems to simmer just below the surface of our society are only small, visible bits of a much larger illness. Is there a cure?

Four young people were shot in what is known as the Kent State
Massacre.  The Ohio National Guard shot 67 rounds into a student
crowd protesting the Vietnam War killing four and injuring 13. 

I believe that all cures begin with a single step and a single person reaching out to others. I'll continue to try affecting people in a positive way, hoping that the stones that I throw can help overcome the storms out beyond my horizon. Will I be successful? Maybe, or maybe not. All I know is that I cannot stop the fight for common sense, mutual respect, and kindness - above all, kindness.

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