On tragic situations like these, it’s very hard to figure out what to say that feels helpful. What I’m referring to right now is the tragic loss of lives that happened in Roanoke Virginia, August 26, 2015.
Yes, condolences, sympathies and respects are all in order to offer, but obviously there’s so much more needed here.
(-aggravated sigh!- I find myself recalled to the many times I’ve written about violences and the human animal.)
It is a terrible fact that shooting and other violences are happening every day in this country. True, such happens all over the world. These affirm in my mind over and over again the violent nature evidently inherent within the human animal. But such a viewpoint isn’t exactly helpful for solutions. It does though make me wonder if there can be solutions. Maybe?
What happened in Roanoke Virginia is certainly tragic and terrible. It is a wretched waste of lives. I along with many others offer my respects and prayers to the friends and families of Alison Parker and Adam Ward whose lives were lost, and I pray the Spirits of Alison and Adam may somehow rest in peace.
Although the situation there certainly is horrific and tragic, it’s quite sadly not at all an isolated incident. In fact, you and I know that shooting violences in this country are now-a-days, well – terrible as it is to say – common. One glaring illustration is the worsening situation in Chicago where the number of daily – that’s *daily* – shootings is staggering, frightening and heart-breaking.
Looking at these numbers, the “Black Lives Matter” group would challenge – and I agree – where is the attention and emotional outcry for all lives being destroyed daily. Some would assert that it’s a difference of skin pigmentation.
And while I agree superficial matters like the color of one’s skin should have absolutely no bearing on anything, I do not think the asserted cause to a lack of attention can be quite so singly concluded.
One tragic cause for a seeming lack of national action with respect to loss of lives comes in part from the enormous numbers involved. From there comes an accompanying sensation of helplessness which can be both overwhelming and a bit paralyzing. I’m not suggesting such position is correct nor should it be construed as an excuse for lack of action, but merely offering one differing, possible cause.
To consider all the incidences of human-inflicted violence across the country, let alone the world, could inspire agoraphobia. One could become motivated to hermit one’s self away within one’s own house and sleep with a loaded shotgun laid across one’s lap just in case the violence should come to the door.
(Note: caution with that set-up as one might accidentally shoot one’s Dog Kin in reaction to the startling sound of their scratching an itch at some wee hour of the morning.)
The shotgun visual recalls me to the somewhat romanticized stories of the “Old West” and also reminds me of this persistent, destructive nature within the human animal.
In a way, those of us not specifically, directly affected by such violences conduct our daily lives from a kind of fantasy bubble of assumption and faith that such violences happen somewhere else or if violence does come, then of course we along with our loved ones would emerge victorious and safe.
There are moments in our reality where “our heroes” do inspire and affirm such encouraging thoughts, bringing along moments of much needed sense of comfort and security.
We rather need our bit of fantasy bubbles. Even though there is very much in this reality that validates being afraid, we specifically choose to live our lives more or less not from a mental space of constant terror.
But so how does a people protect the right to arm and defend one’s self, and yet prevent horrible violences? Where can be found solutions for this terrible problem? Especially when it comes to dealing with the complex, multi-faceted human animal, the answers have to be equally so.
I know a number of people – Bless their good hearts – that would absolutely assert that it all starts with upbringing. They would tell me things like, “When I was a kid, I would have never even thought to turn a gun on someone else unless of course it was in self defense.”
I would tend very much to agree. When young people are educated to not use violent means to deal with problems then they tend not to use violent means.
Sounds simple yet achieving such things requires the efforts of wise parenting. I can already hear a couple of my friends snorting at the words “wise parenting” and I’m right there with you in that derisive snort.
Being a wise parent is almost impossible. For one thing, most parents, especially young ones, will say that when it comes to parenting, one learns as one goes along. Wisdom is gained through the experiences, not beforehand. But this need not be strictly true.
Also, many of the violences stem from mental troubles. Where can folks go when they have such mental difficulties, when our society is actually not set up to be sufficiently supportive?
If a person you do not know very well comes to you and admits some inclination towards destruction of some kind, what is the response? A bit of fear of course, naturally. What happens to that individual? If we’re honest here, that person stands a very strong likelihood of losing their job, their home, their family.
The societal response on such matters is to a certain degree logically fear-based and unfortunately discourages honesty. In fact it encourages troubled individuals to keep their troubles to themselves until maybe at some point they completely lose control and do cause harm.
There was a time, not so long ago, where we had tribes with Elders who would share along their gained wisdoms, supportively helping young parents and all who at one point or another battle those inner troubles. Where are these Elders?
Well here is another unfortunate aspect of our current culture. Our Elders are apparently not in a greater majority regarded from a place of respect, importance or value. I’m not suggesting that all the answers and solutions lie with our Elders, but certainly we do have a chance to gain positively from their experiences.
The difficult fact of the matter is that there is of course not simply one single panacea to solve all the violences nor the causes to them. It will take multi-faceted vision and approach, and it will take our culture pretty much as a whole to affect a better, safer future. Of course this is as it ever has been.
Contradictory as it may sound given the rest of my writing here, we are lucky in that there are in fact people of such vision out here and I believe that where we are able to, we do give our positive encouragement and support. As well, there are those of us who very much support and encourage our younger people to live lives that are positive and constructive.
The challenges in this reality can indeed be many and deeply difficult. However, regardless of how the media might affright one to believe, these challenges are not abandoned of compassionate, effective, positive response or action. Yes, of course, the work of healing and peace is ongoing; it has always been and, all things considered, probably always will be. There will likely always be a cause and need for positive action, hope and faith.
This brings another thought to my mind, a thought that has visited me many times over the course of the years.
Where would we, as a species, be without adversity? Would we have faith and would we still pray? Would we have our heroes and inspiring heroic moments? Would creative innovations still come to life? Would there be unity or solidarity? If we had no reason for such things, would we still do them?
Yes, the human animal is a dichotomous creature indeed. Well, actually, pretty much all of life is rather dichotomous, eh?
Take care out there, All, and try not to hurt anything, each other or yourselves.