UPDATE: Today, August 24th, a man gunned down a former co-worker, then ended up in a gun battle that left him killed and nine others wounded. 9 injuries. 2 corpses because of bad blood after being fired. Not even three weeks since the last crazed shooting. It hurts to read about, but not nearly as much as it should. I can feel myself being conditioned, becoming desensitized. Check your Facebook, your Twitter…tell me how many people know, or how many people even care.
Something needs to be done.
Maybe I missed a memo somewhere that said it’s fine to shoot people now. I don’t watch the news as much as I should lately, just enough lately to see people being gunned down in cold blood. Six people murdered in their house of worship. (Keep in mind if this were an Arab man shooting up a Lutheran church there’d be a nationwide hunt in progress, but that’s a completely different subject.) If the Dark Knight Shooting in Aurora, Colorado was a fire firefighters would just be starting to hook up hoses to the hydrants, but we’ve barely had time to try to put out that blaze before six Sikh worshipers were caught in the blaze of extremism.
For as much as our US media shit-talks the “extremists” of other countries/cultures, I think we’re pretty damned good at being extremists ourselves. We create our own extremism. We live in feedback loops, constantly absorbing the rhetoric of our own beliefs spewed through reblogs and retweets and timeline posts filled with ignorance and hatred. No, let me correct myself: our posts are filled with fear. We live our lives in fear: fear of our country falling apart because the wrong straw-man President was elected, fear that our dollars will be spent on banning/promoting gay marriage when we eat chicken sandwiches, fear that the world will explode because we spent too much money on the environment/promoting businesses and not enough money on social welfare programs/abstinence-only education to save the souls of our youth.
I feel like I talk about this all the time, talk about our country’s penchant for absurd discourse, but that’s maybe because I do. Somebody should. Somebody should stand up and say, “Wait a minute, maybe we’re ALL being idiots. Collectively.”Can somebody raise a hand and say, “Enough people have died because we’re simply not willing to talk. Enough people have died for our fear.”
I think that, secretly, we’re afraid that if we listen to the other side, if we give them our ears instead of throw them our lead, then we’ll find out that they make sense. We’ll find out that the “villains” in our life stories have families, friends, are are just trying to do the right thing like we are. And then, if we really think about it, we’ll realize that we can’t hide in our metaphorical (or literal) xenophobia and pretend that everyone is crazy but us and our friends.
Let’s stop the feedback loop. Start READING opinions different from yours, don’t just scan them for points to mock. LISTEN when someone contradicts you instead of waiting for a chance to justify yourself. See your villains as humans instead of monsters.
And for the sake of whatever ethereal presence/lack-of-presence you believe in, just TRY TO LOVE. Trying makes all the difference.