Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thoughts on Violence

I don't usually bring such a serious tone to the blog but I really have felt compelled to share my opinions on the violence that has become all too frequent in our society. This week, we saw another shooting unfold, one that was highly publicized because, horrifyingly enough, the shooting was on live television... just typing that out makes me feel nauseous. I imagine myself living in the Roanoke area, watching our local news while eating breakfast and having my family witness something that no single person should ever have to see, another human being gunned down. There are many other facets to this story that make it even more disgusting but I will not discuss the way that social media has made us a society of people willing to "overshare" even when that information is truly horrifying. I just can't stop using the word horrifying. It was just that.

I can think of more instances in the recent past (the Charleston Church mass shooting, the Trainwreck Movie shooting) among more highly memorable shootings where children were involved (Sandy Hook elementary and Columbine High) where lives were lost for essentially no reason other than someone with an ax to grind, mental illness + sometimes both was able to get his hands on a gun and used it to end lives, his included.

I tweeted yesterday in response to one that I saw from a sports reporter in the NY area. It was the tweet that, for some reason, really activated my personal feelings on the subject. I don't generally share about serious issues or share my feelings on things because you'll always have people with their opinions and it's not usually my way of doing things on the nets, to get into debates... but I felt that this was and is an important issues to comment on.

I received a retweet that garnered some attention and you now what? A lot of people agreed with me but there were some that did not. I got some hate, people and it wasn't fun (but it was fun BLOCKing these people) but it made me realize that there are so many opinions on how and why these types of violent events keep happening. Just doing a little reading, I was so overwhelmed by the amount of varying opinions that I, myself, have a hard time deciding which avenue that I would make an attempt to help in!

Why is it that this is still happening? Why are we so horrified to see these events unfold, yet we continue to see them happen again + again with very little done about it? Do we need better regulation on guns? Do we need to be more acutely aware of mental illness in this country? Do we need to address the way that men are taught to handle rejection and their emotions? Do we need to talk about things out in the open rather than in closed circles?

All I know is that we need action. We need people to address the issues that they think are important. Do you firmly believe that these incidences are caused by race driven individuals? Find a way to be active in that realm. Do you see gun regulation being the problem? Find a way to be active in that realm. Do you think that mental illness is largely ignored and therefore mistreated or not treated at all? Find a way to be active in that realm. Do you have children? I am starting here.

I am going to start at home and go from there. I have a young son. I may have more. I will do my very best to teach him that it is OK to express and talk about his feelings. I will do my best to keep him from experiencing violent behavior in his environment but what I can't do is protect him from a world where people are shot on campuses, schools, movie theaters, strip malls and churches. I haven't decided where I can concentrate my energy but I do know that I have to do something.

Where will you start?

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