Because last week was promised to a guest writer, I had to wait until this week to post what was written not a week after the incident of the 14th. Before you and I go further, I want to make clear a few things. This post isn’t about writing or books or blatant self promotion. It’s about my thoughts and my only contribution to the social networks regarding the incident in Connecticut. I also want to mention that although some may think I’m being crass or unsympathetic about the killings, I’m not. My heart ached immediately when I read the story. I felt awful and asked for a blessing to all who were affected. However, just because I didn’t continue the expression on Twitter or Facebook does not mean I’m a bad person. I feel the same when I see posts wanting me to share my love of God or that I’m against animal abuse. There were many posts sharing pictures of lighted candles for the children and similar expressions of sympathy. Those are fine and I have nothing against them. Just because I don’t pass along the sentiment does not make me uncaring. I choose to express my feelings in other ways.
My thoughts are my own and nobody, not the bloggers, the media, or any talk show hosts influenced them. Yes, there were a few of each who helped solidify my position, and yes, anything relating to politics will come from a conservative angle because that’s what I am. I’m not giving a pass to ‘my side’ because they faltered, too.
For many days afterward, Facebook was filled with posts regarding the school shooting. I want to mention that I ignored or skimmed all of them because all but very few were wrong. Not only wrong, but stupid, asinine, and they completely missed the point.
The liberals started in with wanting more gun regulations and stating facts about gun laws in other countries versus crime statistics. The other side countered with defense of gun ownership and posted incidents where people who had a gun averted a tragedy. Other statistics countered those foreign law stats by stating crime hadn’t really gone down, but just occurred in other forms, and in one way was worse because of the strict regulations.
Both sides missed the point.
I saw a post that said the argument about how the criminals are going to get guns anyway was dumb because if that’s the logic then we should just leave chainsaws out for kids to play with because they’re going to find them anyway. Another advocated the repealing of the second amendment completely because something on an old piece of paper really didn’t mean anything any longer. These were nonsensical arguments and completely missed the point.
In the days following the 14th, I heard about other mass killings done in the past where a gun wasn’t the prime weapon. Knives have been used multiple times and you didn’t hear about the liberals wanting to increase regulation on knives. The worst incident was back in the late 1920s and the weapon there was dynamite. Again, this reporting missed the point.
Every time something like this happens the politicos come out of the woodwork yelling about gun laws. These are the same people who would readily pick up a gun should anybody threaten them or their families up close and personal. Sure, some new law may go into effect, but it won’t solve the problem and misses the point.
I could mention that since 1973, over fifty-four million children have been killed before their initial birthday but to suggest we regulate this wholesale slaughter, or to make it illegal would bring a hell storm that I don’t wish to navigate at this time. However, I would like to mention the same people who poo-poo the ‘they’ll find a way to do it anyway’ argument regarding guns would rise up and shout the same words with this issue. Here again, though, we miss the point, although we inch closer.
I could mention I didn’t care whether Sunday night football was interrupted because the networks felt they needed to show Obama speaking to the people of Newtown. I didn’t listen to his speech because I knew what he was going to say. The two times I turned up the volume and listened for a bit confirmed my thoughts. Although I’m sure his feelings were genuine, his words rang hollow. When he told us God called those kids back home and asked for God’s blessing, (and again, I’m sorry if this sounds mean-spirited, but as have experienced so often in the past, words mean something and memories are long) I was reminded of when he stated America was no longer a Christian nation. Let me restate, I’m sure his feelings were true but when he said we needed to do something to prevent this sort of tragedy from happening again, he missed the point in his intention. And he exacerbated the politicization of the incident in the following days.
I listened to The Weekend with Joe Pags the day after the shooting. The host usually has a lot of fun during his broadcasts, but I could tell he was stymied this time. However, I agreed with his views. I don’t care to hear about guns and how available they are or aren’t. I don’t care about the shooter. I don’t care if he was a good student or failed. I don’t care if he was a loner or was shy. I don’t care if he had a mental disease. I don’t care to have some ‘expert’ try to explain him. Again, yes, you guessed it, every one of these aspects said or written by others missed the point.
There is only one explanation and one solution. I saw only one Facebook post that mentioned a solution that may or may not have related to the shooting but it was apropos and I wish the person would have expanded on it.
The explanation is simple: The shooter was evil. You can say he had mental problems but the only problem was, he was evil and he chose to express it by shooting people. I don’t think ‘God called home these innocents’. I cannot believe the Almighty decided on that particular day to have somebody shoot a bunch of kids and their teachers. It was ‘God’s will’ that a this man entered a school with the express purpose of killing children? He allowed this to happen?
No. Evil happened. The man was evil.
I don’t like it any more than the next person, but the fact is: bad things happen to good people. Awful, heinous things happen to innocents. They always have and they always will. There are millions of people and children who are shunned and bullied and picked on and rejected but you know what happens to the vast majority of them? They endure. They may have a hard life but they endure. They cope. They move on. They learn. They forgive. Yes, there are some who can’t and those are the people who will take ‘the easy way out’ and there are those who decide to strike out at others. At the very least, they won’t forgive and reject their former tormentors. (I have a classmate who was picked on by a lot of kids in high school. He’s never attended a reunion and the rest of us wish he would because we didn’t hate him and don’t now.)
So, what is the solution? More laws? More regulations? Well, there have been laws against murder, against stealing, and against coveting going all the way back to the Ten Commandments. Yet people still kill others; banks, homes, and convenience stores are still robbed; and cable, electricity, and spouses are still stolen. People still abuse whatever system they can even though there are fraud and extortion laws on the books. More laws will not solve the problem. The man who killed the firefighters and wrote a note about liking killing people would not have been stopped by the strictest laws. More government control and more bureaucracy hasn’t solved one problem. Ever. On the other hand, I’m not abdicating an elimination of laws. We needs standards by which to live, barriers, lines drawn, limits to behavior and the unalienable rights and freedoms.
The one post I saw that gave the solution and deserves to be shouted to the world and given to every single person one at a time. Not to groups or assemblies or even to the Facebook universe as a whole, but one to one, one person to another. What was the post?
Love one another.
Oh, I hear some of you saying, “Oh, Stephen, you’re so naïve.” Really? Love is naïve? Love is silly? Love won’t solve the problem?
I think if there is one idea to come out of this tragedy (and every single tragedy that occurs in other parts of the world every single day) is that each of us, as an individual, needs to examine our personal lives. Let me start. How am I living? How am I treating myself? Am I abusing my body by how I live? Am I risking my health or injury or death in the activities in which I engage? Am I being lazy in certain responsibilities? If I find fault, I need to, as Lone Watie was told, “endeavor to persevere” in changing things for the better. (If you don’t know who Lone Watie is, shame on you. Lol) This may be as simple as cleaning my apartment. Yes, it may sound silly and no, cleaning my apartment is not going to change the world but that’s not my goal at this point. It’s to change MY world for the better.
Then I look outward to my family. Let me tell you a few things about my family. When my parents married, my dad had to get permission because he wasn’t old enough. (No, they weren’t young teens.) They’ve been married for over fifty years and not one time, did I ever hear them fight. Seriously, not once. Oh, I’m sure they had some doozies of arguments throughout the years and I don’t care to hear about them. But never did they fight in front of their children. When disagreements happened and my sister and/or I were present that disagreement was solved very quickly or postponed until a later time. This usually happened because one or the other conceded or just stopped arguing. My dad played baseball with me. My mom cooked dinner nearly every night and we darn well ate every meal and enjoyed every meal. (The one or two times I insulted the meal…yeah, let’s not get into that.) They attended sports games and plays and any concerts where my sister or I was involved. My dad allowed me to come into his workplace without notice and he would talk with me. Maybe sometimes not for very long, but he was glad to see me and took a few minutes to talk. Mom, to this day, will help me with laundry and sewing and cooking problems. Nearly every phone call she ends with “I love you.”
I was picked on and teased in school. A teacher once insulted me because of a physical problem. I’ve experienced depression and heartache and loneliness. My family kept me on the right track with constant love and there were times I didn’t want to be around them. I wanted to handle things on my own. Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I didn’t. But when I turn around, my family has been there. So, I need to look at how you treat my relatives. (And you with yours.) Sure, there are some rotten evil parents and those need to be dealt with.
Then, I turn to my neighbors, friends, and acquaintances. I’ve had girlfriends and there were times when I disrespected them and I paid for it. It is a wonder they are still my friends today with how I acted at times.
But let’s go deeper. I’ve written about my goofy neighbors in previous posts and how most of my neighbors have been in trouble with the law at one time or another. One neighbor tried to steal my cable and tapped into my electricity causing me a few inconveniences until they were finally forced out. This should not be tolerated. If there is something wrong, then you and I need to speak up, stand up, and say, “NO!” It starts with not letting your stupid neighbor abuse the system and then it expands out to your city, state, and federal government. Don’t stand there and take it. If you stand up and a few others stand up, then who knows what might happen?
I get so tired of people who get all sympathetic and heartfelt when a bunch of children in Smalltown, USA get slaughtered and want to change the law in order to solve the problem but who get all upset when a mass murdering dictator gets killed because it involved American soldiers and the situation gets political. A criminal is a criminal is a criminal. I don’t care whether he’s the guy down the block defrauding the insurance company or sits in the top governmental seat. You and I need to hold these people responsible and punish them if they break the law.
You start with you. I start with me. Then you look to another. Share a smile, a joke, some laughter, a hug, opening the door to let the lady enter first, standing up when the lady enters the room, or a simple compliment. I had a woman stop and tell me the cologne I wore that day smelled nice. We didn’t know each other, we didn’t say anything else and I don’t think I’ve seen her since. I thanked her and we went on with our business. But a simple compliment made me feel good for awhile.
If you see someone in trouble, see what can be done to help. I’m not saying you or I have to give up security or livelihood to make sure this person is cared for, but what can be done? Calling someone for assistance as I did when a woman came into the motel all flustered because her daughter had abused her. Or the time I gave a man some food purchased by and for someone else because he was suffering from a diabetes low blood sugar attack. (That man thanked me and said if I ever wanted to hang with the Hell’s Angels, I’d have free pass. Lol) Or the time I drove my neighbor to the doctor because she was feeling ill. If you know somebody with mental situations, don’t ignore the problem or hope someone else will handle it.
There are all sorts of things that we could do that don’t cost too much, or anything other than a bit of time. Start small, start local. Hold people accountable for their actions. Punish the criminals as there will always be bad guys out there and don’t tolerate those little crimes. They tend to turn into bigger crimes later.
The answer is you and me. It isn’t government, it isn’t more laws/regulations. It isn’t looking to Congress for help. It’s looking at the things in our lives and those of our families and striving for the good things and saying no to bad things. (My sister didn’t want her daughters watching an asinine reality show that included blood and violence. Was my niece going to turn into a killer if she watched it? No, but she would be affected, desensitized to those situations because it happened to ‘someone else.’ My sister was correct in telling her daughter to turn off the television.)
Is this solution easy? Of course not. Good things, good people, good achievements, good success (yeah, I know it’s redundant), aren’t easy. It takes time and effort and commitment and perseverance. We’re not all going to succeed all the time and there will be failures. Some of those failures will be devastating. We won’t prevent all the horrors because evil will find a way.
I know this piece has been lengthy and I promise future posts won’t be as long. (Or if they are, I’ll break them up into multiple parts.) I was just so sick and tired of all the incorrect and lame responses this latest tragedy engendered.
You may add your comments to the bottom if you wish. Let me know how I might tweak my thoughts. Usually, I will comment even if it to thank YOU for commenting. However, this time I won’t add anything further. I’ve written what I wanted and this will be the only place this is posted. It will not be posted on my other sites. If you agree with me, thank you. If you don’t agree or disagree with parts of it, that’s your right and no amount of words will change your mind and you’ll have to live with the consequences. As will we all.
Love yourself and love one another. Simple and direct. Don’t make it a new year’s resolution, start NOW.
That’s the point.