Trying To Make Sense……

There is a pall over Colorado as there is most of the United States. It is not the first time nor will it be the last. Maybe it’s particular to me because that movie theater is but a few miles from my front porch.

I sat there Sunday morning reading the newspapers and doing the Sunday crossword puzzles. All was calm but all was not bright.

The simple question I keep asking myself is “ How did we get here?” Some say the gunman was sick. Some say he was inherently evil. We all watch footage after footage searching in vain for an answer. We will probably never know. There are guns. That won’t change. There are terribly sick people out there. We have 330+ million citizens. Some are just not right. Don’t try to hide. You can’t. It’s the world we live in.

Then I asked myself if such is the case, what can we do? Mental illness is caused by one of or a combination of four factors: heredity, a horrible  experience, chemical imbalance or environment. That may be too simplistic for you scientists but for the moment let’s just take it as a given.

The only real culprit we can even begin to attack is our environment…..our world. I think back to my formative years and I try to compare that to today. A little overwhelming. I can’t help but feel we have let the world rule us. We have such an urge for acceptance that we have forgotten how to be HUMAN beings. Everything is served up. Nothing is questioned. We eat it all.

We have made it easy for bullies. They don’t hang out in schoolyards. They reside at keyboards. You don’t have to spread rumors by whispering. You can just text anonymously. In seconds. Bullies aren’t just young kids. They are our rumormongers, shit stirrers and spin doctors. Throw it out there and see if it will stick. Who cares about facts?

As you know I try to listen to both conservative as well as liberal radio and TV to keep myself grounded. Not easy. Both sides are incessant. Depending on your flavor, you can in three short hours get so whipped up for or against you might just go out and shoot someone. Think that’s crazy? Just listen to the unending tirades and imagine cooped up somewhere inhaling that every day, week in, week out. Something or someone just might snap.

Go to a dinner party. Have a few drinks. Watch how seemingly civil people get so bent out of shape that rational conversation just goes out the window. And we consider ourselves the intelligentsia. I had dinner with a friend who is both smart and influential. As I tried to engage him I could see his heels digging in. He has since sent me emails by the truckload. Some to be considered. Many laced with vitriol and bile. I am not shocked but saddened by the hatred.

Most of all we have all sought out and are very comfortable within our cocoons. Rich. Poor. Left. Right. East. West. North. South. We love hearing what we want to hear. Complex problems are solved with a huzzah. Go get’em. Kill the son of a bitch. Boy, that feels so much better. “You rich bastards don’t know what it’s like.” “You stupid jerk. Get a job!”. We are sure we are right. And right is might.

After 9/11 we had a wonderful resurgence of love and respect for one another. We all were hit. We were all one. Our cocoons were broken open and we really did walk a several miles in other people’s shoes. But how soon we forgot. That was just a passing fancy. Had to get back to the real order of things. Climb back inside. How sad.

It may sound redundant or even hyperbole but we have to change. From Washington down to Main Street. It could start with the elections. Tell me what you can do that’s positive and not what an asshole the other guy is. Will it happen? Probably not. But don’t forget they do it because you and I buy it. Negative sells.

I am not one of those that think I have the answers. I am struggling  not only with Aurora but what we have become. We are so aloof to the world and each other. There is so much bad. But then again there is and could be so much more good.

I am going to ask you to try just two things. First of all I would like you to go out today and engage someone you have never met. Just say hello and tell them your name. Ask them to do the same to someone else. That’s it. A simple but very attainable bit of connection.

Secondly, I would like you to answer a question. Just what did you do this day or week to make the world a better place? Several years ago I sat in Jim Hesburgh’s den. His brother, Fr. Ted Hesburgh of Nortre Dame was there and we drank a few scotches. I finally asked him what drove him. He said, “Every day of my life I try to correct injustice.” What an incredible way to live.  There is no way I could put it any better.

As always

Ted The Great.

Factoids:

The US has about 270,000,000 guns or 90 per 100 people. The 100 includes children.

A semi automatic weapon can usually fire 45-60 projectiles per minute. The shooter in Aurora supposedly used an AR15 with a 100 round drum magazine. I can’t verify so it is only a semi factoid.

59 million adults and children play video games. 89% of the best sellers are labeled violent. You can win points by murder, rape and overall violence in the eyes of the judges. What a country!

In defense of violent games:

“What regulators fail to recognize is how violent video games can actually benefit adult gamers.

For one, violent video games allow a player to enter and control a fantasy world to act out scenarios he or she otherwise wouldn’t.

“[A] teen can try out different identities — how it feels to be a hero, a trickster, a feared or scorned killer or someone of a different age or sex — in the safe fantasy world of a video game,” said Cheryl K. Olson in a New York Times article.

Don’t you feel better now.

.

4 thoughts on “Trying To Make Sense……

  1. TTG: There is a cloud over the country but I was reflecting the other day that it is not as great around the Country as it is in Colorado. You have to remember that on 911 it hit the New York metropolitan area harder then the rest of the country. There were areas in our own Country that felt Wall Street deserved it. We live in a very strange time and I am amazed that this stuff doesn’t happen more often. I watched O’Reilly tonight as he was outraged that a person applying for a pilot’s license comes to the attention of the FBI but a guy in CO buying 100s of rounds of ammunition doesn’t – HUH! I don’t believe we can look at an incident like this and feel we must exam where we are as a nation. If it can happen in Norway it can happen anywhere and we just have to chalk it up to people who are nuts and just thank God they don’t have the ability to become a Hitler or Stalin.
    So I mourn for the families affected in CO and bow my head in Church and thank God for the blessings we have. Then I go back to trying to build my new business and wondering when the people Obama referred to as helping all the other successful entrepreneurs will show up and help me get through the Government bullshit that is stopping me from creating new jobs.

    The disconnect is unbelievable.

    And – oh by the way – who cares about Greece and Spain – they would fit inside Indiana who’s corn crop has been devastated and will increase prices on everything from corn to beef, gasoline etc..!

    PS – where is spell check?

  2. Let’s not forget what else has come out of Aurora as of late…a little lady named Missy Franklin. Her smile and love of life is infectious. She is pure good.

    I watched author Kurt Andersen on Charlie Rose (http://www.charlierose.com/guest/view/2389) last night and he commented on the fact that the people who create and promote a violent movie, game ect need to take some responsibility for it’s effect on the public just as you would want a inspiring do gooder would effect the public. The author said we are shaped by the things we read and watch. So is the first law suit that is going to be filed correct in going after Time Warner? At first I thought it was ridiculous and now I’m not sure.

    I also heard and interesting statistic that the majority of people own guns for protection. From what? Are there that many intruders lurking around you neighborhood or are you just so paranoid because you locked up in your house watching violence on tv?

    Here’s is an interesting article too
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/a-land-without-guns-how-japan-has-virtually-eliminated-shooting-deaths/260189/

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