A nation's choices and actions reflect its character and values. Any country that protects and promotes guns, gun owners gun manufacturers, lobbyists and moneyed influences from accountability earns little respect and trust. Any country that values guns and violence over civil measures does not value human life.
American's allegiance to an out-dated 2nd Amendment, for instance, reflects an inability to adapt to a modern world. Guns were musket-loaded in 1776; today some firearms shoot hundreds of rounds per minute. What has grown is the killing power of firearms, the availability of guns as well as the number of victims. Unfortunately, American consciousness and values have suffered. This trend has also altered America's credibility in the world and at home. The flag does not stand for what it once did. The anthem rings hollow today because they do not represent a changed world.
Citizens in 2014 may envision a life in a free and democratic society, but it is a shame - No longer is it the land of the Free and Brave. We now live in country is more fearful than ever. A nation that has compromised and sold out much of what it once stood for. Its values and virtues are not OLD GLORY any more. We are NOT as grandiose as we once thought we were.
Disturbed minds, angry outcasts, wounded souls, troubled individuals, misguided misfits, righteous trigger-fingers, inflated egoes, Most violent perpetrators are single males losing grip with reality. And it is always innocent victims punished for soceity's insanity. When our society does not possess enough sense and moral courage to place humanity first, there are few solutions available. How can a insane nation whose distorted values find a way to sane solutions? Insanity can appear in both act and reaction.
The finger-pointing, like so much in our society, seems to point everywhere except inward at ourselves. The blame game rarely addresses the cause.
With the seemingly endless gun-related murder in America, I thought I might shoot off my perspective into the never-ending melee surrounding human stupidity and insanity. The message behind the absurd satire is the meaning. And can we examine ourselves enough to face the fact that the solution isn't to arm everyone. It isn't to legislate laws. It is
The solution seems to me to be hiding in our societal values. When movies, video games and fantasy become escapes from reality and violence is depicted without consequence. When respect and acceptance of difference are still not honored, we elect
Simple games are played by children; however, adults, play the same games but with different rules and deadly consequences.
When leaders can't comprehend how they not only hurt themselves as well as other innocents, humanity plays life like a children's game. While the cartoon may suggests human sides only see clearly their own stupidity after firing a first shot at each other, this belief is not completely true. Any student of history knows human ignorance (war) is full of lessons adults have failed to heed. Did you realize that if they killed each other, they can not realize their idiocy and insanity. This Calvin and Hobbes cartoon ends with powerful messages Life is not a stupid, self-destructive game unless the players treat it as such and act like foolish bullies. And when we hurt ourselves, we hurt both sides.
Untying our Nots - The senseless slaughter of innocent bystanders in Paris again reminded the world how vulnerable and susceptible free societies are to suicidal maniacs. These atrocities occur every day around the world though they often do not garner headlines. That lack of world-wide media exposure is in itself a type of atrocity. Of course, it is not as if we humans need periodic wake-up calls to be reminded how angry, uncivilized, self-destructive and inhumane humans can be. But maybe we humans need unfortunate timely wake-up calls.
Obviously terrorists are acting out and screaming because humanity is not paying attention to them. Obviously, the so-called "civilized" world is ignoring the problem because it never goes away. Like a boil under the skin, it will eventually boil over. Because the "foreign" enemy is rarely seen as human, humans do not pay close attention or are unaware; they basically ignore until they can't any more. Human history is replete with inhumanity, but much of it is labeled as being outside ourselves. What is rare is a society actually making changes in itself because the mentality that what is rare are the viable, practical, game-changing, humane solutions. Always unconscionable how inhumanity rears its dark and dense, misguided appetite for further death, disruption and destruction. When people so devalue life and have nothing to lose, they dehumanize and devalue everyone, including themselves. A dark sky covers all of us when our ignorance blinds us to a course of calm and civility. The impending and approaching storm will hit us hard
When are we going to learn human ignorance causes much of our problems? We are all ignorant when we ignore others. Paying too much attention or not giving enough attention to those left out only exacerbates any human interaction. I witnessed this all too often in the classroom over 25 years when the smart, slow or angry students attracted all of of a teacher's attention. The students in the middle rarely got acknowledged much less praised. What happens to those of us who become neglected, marginalized, ignored or worse yet - abused? Not good. When will our societies and our wealthy wak up to recognize their ignorance is their ignoring others' problems?
When cowardly cretins surreptitiously slither amongst us, then randomly ambush unarmed, unsuspecting innocent citizens, they reveal the vilest of humankind instincts. While wild creatures prey on the vulnerable or weaker, only humans kill or cripple innocent and benign beings. So how does humane humans deal with inhumane ones? Maybe we have to look in the mirror first.
But because most humans can be kind, loving, compassionate, generous, empathic, altruistic, understanding if given conditions and circumstances. But we are not all innocent. In fact, much of world is complicit in the dysfunction and corruption of the spirit. In many ways, we are no better than the terrorists when we retaliate with blind ignorance and stupidity. All we have to do is look at the unintended consequences of history to know how stupid human responses have been.
And from where I sit, it is always seems the root causes come from technology, industry and power often leaving people desperate, destitute and disenfranchised. The "haves" always attract a violent response from the "have nots". If people feel devalued and dismissed, they will rebel and revolt. I have tried to make some sense out of senselessness. Is this how terrorist think?
- Kill innocent people to make the world pay more attention to us?
- Scare civilians and economies to create temporary chaos?
- Destroy and traumatize others so their righteousness makes them feel more powerful?
- Further their own narrow, fundamentalist fear-based mentality and cause?
- Improve the lives of their followers, friends and families?
- Live meaningful productive lives that helps society?
- Continue a vicious cycle of killing?
- Avoid further conflict?
As much as we might not want to admit this, these primitive human impulses are part of human aggressiveness and history. Revenge, retaliation, righteous retaliation are still very much alive in our species and cultures today. How and when can humans rise up above and beyond this animalistic impulse to stop the madness and needless slaughter?
As we search for answers, it may be almost inconceivable to examine ourselves first and foremost. It might be easy to rationalize and accuse the acts of a relatively few in the world population as as terrorists. After all, it was their frustrations were acted out in ant-social, self-destructive ways, but I would suggest that their frustration and violence is far more prevalent in the world today.
Maybe we need to untie our many nots as in not very bright, not normal, not like us or notAmerican. Maybe looking at difference with less judgment and more understanding, we can consider solutions that might be worth trying. What we know for sure is that past so-called solutions have often failed because we aren't that smart. Maybe smarter rather than more violent would lead us to a more peaceful and harmonious outcome and world.
In Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Colonel Sherburn is a store owner who guns down a local drunk named Boggs who has ridden into town threatening to kill the colonel and insulting and taunting him until Sherburn appears on the street. Sherburn warns Boggs to leave town or he will kill him. When Sherburn kills Boggs, a number of the town's men decide to confront the store owner, leading to one of the novel's seminal events. In Chapter 22, a lynch mob arrives at Colonel Sherburn's home expecting to take matters into its own hands. Sherburn steps out onto his porch to confront the angry mob, and instantly takes command of the situation, declaring:
“The idea of you lynching anybody! It’s amusing. The idea of you thinking you had pluck enough to lynch a man! Because you’re brave enough to tar and feather poor friendless cast-out women that come along here, did that make you think you had grit enough to lay your hands on a man? Why, a man’s safe in the hands of ten thousand of your kind—as long as it’s daytime and you’re not behind him."
Labeling the mob a bunch of cowards, Sherburn continues to lecture the group on its inability to stand on its own and to exercise any degree of courage in the face of true adversity. The anonymity of a mob provides each individual courage he doesn't possess on his own. As Twain has this rare figure of courage and dignity state:
"The pitifulest thing out is a mob; that’s what an army is—a mob; they don’t fight with courage that’s born in them, but with courage that’s borrowed from their mass, and from their officers."
Huck and Jim's journey has been filled with examples of man at his vindictive worst. In Colonel Sherburn, both Huck and Jim view a man of stature and foreboding who will not back down. The human impulse to blame others for any wrong doing is pretty common. We are, after all, defensive creatures who tend to shut out or even lash out at others who do not believe, listen or understand our way of thinking. And taking responsibility is a big step towards owning our anger. I noticed in the news that ISIS took ownership for their atrocities, but I am pretty confident they are boasting rather than begging for forgiveness.
Ever felt ignored, excluded, marginalized, alienated, estranged, ostracized, forgotten, powerless, hopeless, frustrated, defiant, angry and rebellious? Join a group to belong? Act out your frustrations against someone. Follow a leader rather than your your own heart and head. I know I have one too many times.
How much damage and destruction is caused by our accepting dysfunctional relationships?