Random

It isn’t just about cops killing black people. It isn’t just about cops being killed

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It isn’t just all that which has gotten us all worried and concerned.
There is more.  We forget all the incidences of mass murders that have happened in this country. We forget the incidences of rape that have occurred that have had no punishment for the rapist.

The issue at hand is all the various examples of random and unexpected violence that have occurred in the past several years.  It doesn’t make any sense. It is violence that seems to come out of the blue. It is school shootings. It is shopping malls, it is movie theaters. It is anytime anyone out of the blue starts killing people who have done nothing to him. And that is the operative point.  It seems that all of these incidences have involved single men acting alone, and often young white men. They’re angry at something in general but not someone in particular and they don’t know how to express their anger, so they kill the person in front of them. The thing that is most frightening about all of this is that it could happen to any one of us at any time. It is nothing that we can control or prevent.

We feel helpless and constantly on guard, but even being on guard won’t do us any good. It is as if we can do all the right things and still be victims. We haven’t angered anyone. We’ve done all that society expects us to do and still someone, randomly, on their own, can decide to kill us. It isn’t personal at all – it is as impersonal as it could possibly be.

We were terrified by Ebola and then the Zika virus. These two things are seemingly random and they can forever affect your life (if not end it).  There was no way to avoid them. These incidents of random violence are the same.  There is no way to prepare or prevent them from happening.

This is why we feel so helpless.  We can’t legislate it away.  We can’t do anything.  Our “thoughts and prayers” seem to be falling on deaf ears.

 

To turn away from the newsfeed is to be accused of being indifferent.  It is to be accused of “white privilege”.  Tell us what we can do, and we will do it.  Otherwise, to continue to drown in these stories is to be psychically attacked over and over.

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Half mast

Let’s stop lowering the flag for mass murders.

We lower it so often now that it doesn’t mean anything.
We lower it for –
Former presidents, Senators, current Supreme Court Justices or First Ladies who die. In honor of Pearl Harbor Day or September 11th. National (and some international) disasters.

When we lower it after people have been killed in a mass murder, we don’t show mourning anymore.
We say the murderer has won.
He’s gotten attention.
We’ve all noticed him for a change.
We say that our nation is diminished, when this is the time we need to be stronger.

By lowering the flag, we are lowering ourselves. We are showing weakness. This has to stop, because that is the last thing we should be doing at such a time.

She said no.

I just read a news story about an 11-year-old boy who killed an eight-year-old neighbor girl because she said no.

She didn’t say no about sex. It wasn’t over something so charged with emotion as sex.

It was over a puppy.

He wanted to see her new puppy and she refused. So he went inside his house and picked up a gun and shot her.

It is so easy to say that this is a matter of a parent not locking up their guns. He was easily able to open up the closet door, pull out a shotgun and shoot this girl in the chest, killing her instantly. That is certainly an issue. But more than gun-control, we need to have people control. How have we gotten to the point where young boys feel that the way to deal with rejection is to kill? How have we gotten to the point where being told “no” means someone has to die?

It is to the point where we really shouldn’t be afraid of Muslim men with guns. What we need to be afraid of are young white boys with guns. They are responsible for far more murders in America these days than anyone else.

This has nothing to do with “America being a Godless nation” as some commentators say. You don’t need religion to know you should not kill someone.

Perhaps violent videogames are to blame. Perhaps neglectful parenting is to blame. Perhaps this kid (and all the other ones, too many to name) were left alone for too long, ignored, left to fend for themselves, unguided, unwanted. Perhaps it is all of this, and more. Whatever the reason(s), we as a nation need to figure it out soon, because too many deaths have already occurred.

I feel the root of this particular murder is the word “no” – and how he handled it.

If he didn’t kill her over this, it is entirely possible that he would grow up to assault or rape a different woman who told him “no”. Is this what our society has come to, where women cannot say “no” for fear of being harmed? Is this what our society has come to, where men can’t hear the word “no” without causing harm?

There was no way to predict that this would have happened. He asked to see her puppy. She said no. So he killed her. Something doesn’t add up. This equation does not lead logically from one step to another. And that is the problem. We say we want to stop gun violence, but deep down if we are being honest we really just want to not be the victim of gun violence. It has become random, uncertain, chaotic. Anyone can be a victim.

Long gone are the days where attacks follow a logical pattern. Someone was abused for years and kills his abuser. Someone was in a “bad” part of town and got mugged. Someone got into a fight and got shot.

These days, just going to school can be dangerous. Just going to the movies can get you murdered. There is no logic to it. All the victims are innocent. Often they aren’t even known by their murderer.

Why are there too many guns and not enough parents teaching their children right from wrong? Sometimes it isn’t even as easy or simple as that. Sometimes the parents need a few lessons themselves. Often the parents are less than stable. Giving birth does not suddenly improve intelligence or aptitude. It isn’t a surprise when their kids go off the deep end.

Stronger gun laws will only result in a greater imbalance. More “bad” people will have guns. They don’t obey laws anyway, so gun laws will benefit them and harm everyone else. It is too late to regulate guns – there are too many out there. What we need is to regulate people.

We need to teach our children from an early age how to handle loss, rejection, and pain. We need to teach them how to deal with their feelings, good and bad. We need to teach them how to be with other people in healthy ways, ways that are life-affirming. We need to teach people how to have dialogue versus having debate. We need to teach people about many other cultures and ways of thinking, so they learn there are many ways of seeing and understanding.

Cure for violence

We’ve had too many examples of people becoming violent and randomly killing people. This isn’t something that is going to go away unless we make it go away. It is a weed that takes many years to grow. We have the ability to eradicate it in the future. Here are some of my ideas about a cure for violence. Some of this I wrote a few years ago, after a rash of these occurrences.

Just like with treating toddlers -ignore the bad behavior and reward the good. Don’t publicize the name of the criminal, the perpetrator. Lets’ not have a payoff.

Notice and acknowledge people. Everybody needs to know that they count. When you see someone who is a loner, make contact with them. Befriend them. It isn’t easy. But it is essential. It is part of this “love your neighbor” thing we are supposed to do.

Remove, discourage violence in the media. Games and movies that depict violence should not be bought. They should not be made, but we can’t control that. Take away the demand, then the supply will go away. I’m not about making laws for these things. Make it illegal and you’ve made it taboo. Make it taboo and you’ve made it desirable. Kids want what they can’t have. Rather, we need to watch what we consume.

We need to make it socially unacceptable for people to play war in their spare time. Especially kids, who don’t have the maturity to understand reality from unreality. How can you know what is real when you never see it? “Reality TV” isn’t. It is over the top, scripted, and fake, much like our celebrities. We have created a society of artifice, where we celebrate the un-real.

We need healthy outlets for emotions. We bottle them up and suppress our real emotions. Everything is supposed to be fine in our society, and this just isn’t normal. We don’t have a way to process pain. We need that. It has to get out.

I’m not advocating gun control. I’m advocating people control.

Is it that we have more violence these days, or that we are just so connected that we can’t help but see it? And why don’t we see a balance of “good” stories? Surely just as much good is happening.