It’s hard to know what to think. Has the world gone mad? Or is it that there are just so many people and so much news centered around murder, mayhem, disaster, mass shooters and disturbed bombers that we cannot escape for even a moment to appreciate what we have. We all have busy lives, stress in abundance at work, school, home, our job, or lack of one, our dwindling or empty bank account, failing children, failing marriage, freak weather, species extinction, etc., so we fill our social connections with inanities and rhetorical questions and pretty, sometimes beautiful images and often funny humor to distract ourselves from our harrowing reality. Tragic events like the recent Boston Marathon bombing, where social media aided the authorities, or the Newtown killings have become so commonplace that we turn into media vultures, filling our minds and our hearts and our souls with violence and hatred and bloodshed ad infinitum.
Or maybe, it’s the latest sordid murder trial, or evil money-grubbing banker, arms dealer, dictator, drug lord (you fill in the blank), or the drama in real life of suspects and gun battles and bombs and swat teams which is occurring while I type. And we listen as so-called experts (many with good credentials) and anchors and reporters and people on the street spout their version, or their theory or their repetition of everything they and almost everyone else has already said, vamping until the next new bit of the story is revealed. Our lives simmer in the pressure cooker of horrible, violent news, failing economies, poor job prospects with sub-livable wages, or whatever may be personally affecting you at this moment, that we seek out the crimes, misfortunes, and failures of people we have never met and are not likely to meet in order to feel better about our own circumstances.
There’s only one problem. It doesn’t work. In an attempt to escape we fill ourselves with negativity, hatred and violence that settles in the core of our being until we are not even aware that it is there. We are addicted to it and, I believe, we see more violence in our entertainment and news because the old dose is simply not enough anymore. Others have said the same; it’s nothing new. I’m sure those of us who thought about it understood this well before someone voiced it in public.
What I’m saying, is STOP!
I know there is no drug treatment center for the whole planet, so I urge each of us to take matters into our own hands. However painful it is, skip the latest slam bang action picture that is full of violence. Boycott shows that deal with brutal murder and mentally disturbed villains (or heroes). If a show that has a serial killer as its protagonist can become widely watched and lauded, I believe we are in serious trouble. Yes, sometimes they are great dramas or comedies or dramadies; story telling is part of who we are as a species. Violence, too, is part of who we are, but it doesn’t have to be. We can make a choice. We can and must choose to grow up and put aside these dangerous behaviors of our youth.
Even this may be way too little, way too late, but we must try. And yes, I do believe one person can change the world, even if it’s only one person at a time.
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