My thoughts in Words
Framing the world through a unique lens to provoke different solutions. "The difficulty... is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish" - R. L. Stevenson
Earlier this week we had a shooting in Portland,Oregon. Within the last week or so we had an NFL player shoot and kill his girlfriend and then take his own life in front of his coaches. Now a school shooting that leaves numerous children and adults dead. An event that will scar a community and families for years to come.
I am torn with which direction to go with this, so please bear with me. I could not be silent when an incident like this occurs. Our nation is facing a dilemma, a very big quandary that has to be addressed. As law makers are kicking the can back and forth in Washington about fiscal policy, the sense of humanity in America is fading away. Where a life is not worth more than a $300 iPhone, where anger or frustration gives someone the right to open fire in a mall, to take someone’s life or to take the lives of multiple people in some act of revenge.
Perhaps I blame the media, who has desensitized the masses to death. Where our evening news is not about the Christmas play in town, or the great job the high school football team did at the state finals, but it is a collage of death, shootings, drugs, and every other atrocity that has occurred in our city or town, with a splash of happiness, which tends to come via the weather report. Or maybe it is how the media handles things. At this shooting in Newtown, CT, for example, they were interviewing children – how tasteless and unprofessional to have a child recount what they saw, to essentially have them relive a horror that they are still trying to process and may not want to remember. Or maybe it is not the media, maybe it is the masses. Maybe we demand certain programming and the media simply supplies it, which in turn makes us the culprits.
Or maybe I could take a moment to talk about gun control and guns in the US. We have a gun problem, whether we think it is the people, the guns or a combination of the two, there is something going on and we need to look at it. Or maybe it is the video games or maybe it is a mixture of all these things.
America…Land of the free, brave and so many other good things, yet so many other not so good things. I could rant and rave, but the thing about us in America is that we have a short attention span. We like reality television, but never like to deal with reality. This shooting in Newtown, like those years ago in Columbine, have a tendency to be big news for the moment, but by next Friday everybody will be discussing what they want for Christmas, who is going to the Superbowl and what they are going to do for New Years. Incidents like this have a tendency to be forgotten, only to be remembered by those who were directly affected.
My grandmother once said to a young man who was being disrespectful to his parents, “You are free ‘til you fool.” If I may translate the thought, the child had so much freedom that he acted foolish. He was free to the point of being foolish and unrestrained because his parents placed no restrictions or rules around him. He could do what he wanted to do – he was his own master. No, I am not saying we need to instill extreme laws and restrict everything. But, I am saying…there has to be some level of restraint or else people are free to do as they please to the detriment of others.
My closing thought may go something like this, “Freedom has the ability to liberate and to enslave at the same the time. Freedom is a heavy weight that – if not balanced correctly – will crush those that choose to carry it as their trophy of triumph…freedom – the great desire of all men, to be without restraint, or to only be restrained by the things they desire to be restrained by…”
We have a lot to think about and a lot to pray about. My thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies go to the families that have lost loved ones and especially children in this event in Newtown.
“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal…” – Last line from the first Stanza of the Hymn: Come Ye Disconsolate
Grace and Peace-
Byron Washington, MPA is a Consultant, Youth Mentor, and Life Coach. He is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University and Princeton University. He currently resides in Shanghai, China with his family. - "Change Without Direction is Chaos"