As I sit here and stare at my blog topic list, I'm having a hard time deciding what to write about. Part of it might be the fact that I'm incredibly sleepy. Part of it might be because half my mind is here at work, half is on the road somewhere, and half of it is recreating scenes from the past week. Yes, that's three halves; which is most likely more than part of my problem.
At the risk of jumping on the "bandwagon" and making even more out of the tragedy in Colorado .. I feel compelled to say a thing or two about the situation. I will not by any stretch of the imagination get on a soap box about my feelings towards gun control, being able to stop these things, etc. I will however say how I'm feeling about all of this and what we, as average people, can do going forward to try and stop the madness.
When I woke up this morning and turned on the news, I expected a whole lot of the 'same old stuff' to be playing in the background as I showered and got ready for work. Political races, car chases, some guy winning the lottery, someone trying to save the spotted owls. I never expected to hear of the horrific shootings that took place in Colorado last night. My first thought was "oh my goodness, how scared those people must have been" followed very quickly by "HOLY S@#$! My daughter was at a midnight showing in Pittsburgh, it very easily could have happened anywhere".
Throughout the day I've read articles and watched videos on what happened. It's in the comment section of various websites where I get most scared. The reactions people have are all over the board, but I see one common denominator... everyone is SO MEAN and HOSTILE towards each other. There is no one "magic pill" that will stop this senselessness from happening again. It's happened in the past, and unfortunately, it will most likely happen in the future. Stopping the sale of guns, not allowing people to wear costumes at premiers, having armed security guards in movie theaters, allowing civilian patrons to carry concealed in a theater .. none of these things alone - or potentially together -- is going to solve the issue.
Because we, as a society, have it instilled in our brains that WE are right and everyone ELSE is wrong. In some cases, we are raised to voice our opinion as loudly and violently as possible to get our point across. Where we draw the line on what is acceptable social behavior and what is not is becoming more and more difficult to define. Pissed off that someone got your drink order wrong? Scream at them until they cry; so many people will agree that they deserved it for making the mistake. Someone made you mad by disagreeing with you? Yell, swear, and throw a chair; totally acceptable, even if it does accidentally hit someone; they'll heal, and you can totally just blame it on your "anger" issues or the fact that you were "raised" like that. Get bullied in school, at work, in society .. run into the nearest public place and start shooting everyone; after all it can't possibly be YOUR fault that you're not dealing with reality well. Yes, there is a whole lot of smart-ass and sarcasm in those statements and NO I DO NOT CONDONE ANY SUCH BEHAVIOR.
I have a much different mindset on the whole thing. People are always going to have varying opinions about things... but that's not a reason to start screaming at someone, swearing (though I'll admit, I don't have the cleanest vocabulary), hitting walls, or throwing things. Now before you start telling me "you don't know what it's like not to be able to control your anger", let me assure you -- I do. I had a big anger issue in High School -- anyone that knows me from back then can attest to that. I had many a bruised hand, knuckle, finger, and other parts due to my inability to control my anger and my mouth. Eventually I learned how to deal with it and how to act more appropriately in situations; and it turned my life around completely. I'm much more grounded, much happier, and a MUCH more pleasant person to be around now.
All that being said -- here's my simplified "rainbows and kittens" solution. Show compassion. Try to understand. Don't judge. Don't jump to conclusions. If you don't know the facts, keep your mouth shut and your mind open. Just BE NICE to others. If everyone tried this, the world would be a significantly better place. I know what you're thinking, silly cynical reader. "There's no way that would work... people are idiots and they just can't help themselves." I disagree. People CAN help themselves they CHOOSE not to. Self control is a matter of mind .. people usually find it much simpler to go out of control than swallow the situation and be the bigger person .. the calmer person. And if EVERYONE implemented this, we would have less tragedy in the world. For whatever reasons he had, that man that snapped in Colorado yesterday snapped for a reason; we may or may not know what it is. Granted, it could be an isolated case of "no reason I just did it because I could". However, in the past, these types of things are usually linked to a specific "wronging" or "perceived wronging" by the offender. "I was bullied." "My boss fired me for no reason" "She didn't put mayo on my sandwich". If these people were A: treated kinder by others (we could all use a little of that) and B: chose to control their tempers and their actions; just imagine what a better place it would be.
So, I offer this personal challenge to you: Be kind to someone you don't know today. Look someone in the eye when you say thank you when they hold open a door. Pay for the guy behind you at Starbucks. Genuinely compliment someone you see walking down the street. Be a friend to someone in need. You'll be surprised the difference it will make in their day -- and in yours.
Love you Kittens, please play nice
Be at peace with yourself and you're a peace with the world.