There’s an epidemic in America right now. It comes and goes. Currently, it has gripped too many neighborhoods around the country. Community leaders and politicians are shaking their heads, trying to develop a strategy to combat its effects. If you’re thinking I’ve made a mistake by referring to an epidemic, after all the world is suffering from the ravages of a pandemic right now. You heard me right; I said an epidemic. The epidemic is violence. People are taking the lives of each other as if they were disposable. Politicians and community leaders are scrambling about, trying to develop strategies to deal with this issue, which isn’t new.
In my hometown, which has had a relationship with violence for quite some time, we never seem to be able to develop a long-lasting strategy for dealing with this darkest of human behaviors. I can’t think of anything too much darker than hearing a TV news anchor reporting that a toddler has been killed on the expressway by a stray bullet while riding with her family in the back seat. Whenever I hear such a story on the news, I wonder how many people who saw it were touched in a way that made their heart ache, if for only a short while.
Is there something deep within our souls that’s underdeveloped to the point that we can’t look at another human being and stop ourselves from taking a life? Can we not see ourselves in each other? Why doesn’t the image of us committing an act of violence flash before us and cause us to see the various consequences that might result? This should be enough to stop us before doing anything that we might regret. Unfortunately, emotions heated to the boiling point inhibit the workings of a sound mind and dark behavior prevails. Of course, in some cases premeditated behavior is the case where a cold heart is at work. Whatever the motivating factor, a reduction in violence in our land would be a welcomed condition.
How many times have you heard the phrase, we’re better than that? I used to be touched by that phrase, thinking that indeed we are better than the horrific event I just heard on the news; however, I’m not so sure anymore. Whenever I pose the question: If we’re better than that, why has this happened? I don’t think we’re better than what I just heard. I question whether all the shouts in the public square about how much lives matter really amount to too much of anything.
I know this piece probably doesn’t seem to support my handle: old and blessed. To the contrary, I think it does, because I’m convinced of my blessed state despite all that’s unfolding around me. I just pray that we begin to show that we are indeed better than that…
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.
Yes, in the best of times we are better than that. But a casual glance at the news also confirms that, no, we are not. The thin veneer of civilization developed over thousands of years is easily shattered. Too many of us are easily stressed and revert to violence in our response. Weapons all too commonly available are used in the heat of argument prior to when cooler heads might prevail.
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I share your dim view of humanity’s capabilities. I’m not sure what the cause is, I sometimes think we’ve simply reached critical mass on this planet; we live to close together and we’ve made the resources needed to sustain us to precious, but the fact seems to be that we’ve grown into a nation/world? full of overgrown adolescents who’ve never gotten a handle on impulse control and logic. The crap that happens on airplanes alone, is enough to make me shake my head in stupefaction.