Anger – Byproduct of Fear
Last week after I posted a Life Coaching article, someone mentioned it would be great for me to write a blog on how we can deal with devastating tragedy in our communities and keep moving forward. To be honest, after she posted the comment, I quickly got on-line to see what tragedy she was speaking about. I quickly learned of the sniper shooting in Dallas. A real tragedy to say the least.
How, you may ask, did I not know about it? Easy. I do not watch television and do not listen to the news…..because I think the news is responsible for amping up and stoking so many fires. News nowadays is sensationalist, not newsworthy and most of it has a political bent, sway bending with what channels you watch. I get my news after the fact and if it is important enough to me, I start my own fact checking. There are always two sides to every story, and sometimes even more. To come up with how we as a community can move forward after such tragedy means that we have to put the “badness” into perspective. We must remember that for every bad act that takes place, there are countless "good", no "great", acts that take place everywhere every day. They just are not as sensational, therefore, we do not always hear about them.
I have to be honest, however. I am really confused by the state of affairs of our nation's people. We don't want gun control, we want to be able to carry our firearms concealed, we do not want background checks or waiting times and certainly psych exams, but then we are devastated and pissed off when a sniper takes out a bunch of cops and innocent people. I mean, can we really count on only the non-crazy people procuring a weapon? To me that last sentence is an oxymoron. I'm not saying I am for or against guns, but I am against the nuttiness of the arguments that surround it.
People. Good people. Bad people. Sane people. Insane people. Mostly good people having really terrible days. Terrible people having terrible days. White, black, and Hispanic, (etc.) gang-bangers and thugs doing what they do. Good cops. Bad Cops. Violence is violence regardless of who is propagating it and what geographical area it is taking place in. Right now, between the news, politicians and religious leaders, the coals in the fire are just being stoked with nothing being resolved. Underneath it all, we are a nation racially and religiously divided.
In my opinion, we are being spoon-fed fear and this fear of everything, is having devastating effects on our nation. It is breaking us down, crippling and dividing us. We need to get our heads out of asses and start being smart. Start taking responsibility for our own actions.
So let's talk about reality.
- It takes only one rotten egg to ruin an egg salad. In the case of last week’s shooting (and every other mass shooting I can think of) there is a mentally unstable person, with a weapon, perpetrating crimes against humanity. Why these people are unstable is beyond on the scope this blog, but it is a hard cold fact.
- Loss is loss. Whether it is me losing my child due to hospital negligence (true), a child being killed in a car crash, a policeman killing a black child, or someone killing a policeman. Death is death. And in all circumstances, it is tragic. Perspective is the first thing to go and the first thing to bring us back.
- I also think it is important to remember that being a policeman is a career choice, and I know that being killed in the line of duty is an inherent risk that they and their families have had to come to terms with when choosing this career. Sad but true. I mean no disrespect, and I will be unpopular for saying so, but their death is no more tragic than anyone else's death. Even, or maybe especially, in the line of duty.
- I do not believe we should, nor do I think it healthy, to mourn someone we do not know. We can feel empathy for the people who were terrorized, those killed, the situation in general and their families and friends. But empathy is the right emotion here. Our compassion should be driving us to stop the senselessness of such acts.
- Cops scare the hell out of most of us and a lot of us scare the hell out of cops. And let's face it. Black kids have been wrongly profiled, attacked, and killed, way more than white kids. Some were innocent, some were not. Some were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some carried weapons, some did not. Some may have carried a weapon but never even brandished it. But let's be honest, historically there are reasons why there is fear.
- The use of videos has changed what we think about violence. Truth is, the only difference between crimes being committed then and now is that it can be recorded, by both the police and bystanders. I think it is important to note, that many law enforcement establishments feel this is an important tool too.
- If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. The point I am trying to make here is that even though you may not "be" what you look like, it is important to understand "what" you look like to other people and claim your responsibility to it. Living in the old USA implies we are free to be and look as we wish. However, "it's our right" also comes with responsibility. We are a fear-based nation, remember? And a word to the wise, we are known by the company we keep.
- If you dress like a thug, walk like a thug and speak like a thug, you are probably going to be feared as being a thug, even if you are not.
- If your pants hang off your ass and you wear a hoody and sunglasses, whether it is cold or hot outside, you are going to scare people.
- You are scary if you carry a weapon, regardless of who you are and the reasons why you open carry. If you have a weapon on your person and the holster outline, or the holster and weapon themselves show, you will scare a lot of people.
- If you are mentally unstable, you will scare a lot of people.
- If you are a religious person, holding an anti-abortion or anti-gay sign, you will scare a lot of people.
- Likewise, if you show up at a Pride rally half-naked and making out, or dress flamboyantly, you will scare a lot of people.
- If you are covered from head to foot in tattoos, you are going to scare a lot of people.
- If you are radical in your religious beliefs (Christian, Jewish, Islam, etc.) you are going to scare a lot of people.
- If you are a homeless person standing on the street corner, you are going to scare a lot of people.
- If you are a Muslim (practicing or not) in America, you are going to scare a lot of people.
- If you are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, etc., you are going to scare someone who is a different color than you.
- If you are a law enforcement officer, you are going to scare a lot of people.
Truly, this list could go on endlessly. My point? Fear surrounds us, is pushed down our throats, runs on endless loops on television and cable, argued among our religious figures and now even our political figures. We can, however, choose to surround ourselves with wholesomeness and replace our fears with modest trust and fact checking, not here say.
But, I would like you all to remember that beauty, grace and goodness surrounds us all and exists at all times throughout the world. There is so much of it that we do not even notice it because it is not sensational. We have a responsibility to keep these things alive and share them among ourselves and the communities at large. It is well and proper to acknowledge these tragedies and honor all who are involved, but not remain focused on them. We have to look beyond the senseless acts and replace them with meaningful acts. Next time something tragic happens honor the fallen by sharing 10 different wonderful things in which people, young and old, from all over the world are taking part. Let's start a movement of collective goodness and start changing the energy surrounding our world.