not to believe in the possibility of permanent peace is to disbelieve in the godliness of human nature - Mahatma Gandhi
I'd like to qualify this post with a few thoughts. The first is that my goal is to write a new post about once a month(ish) from now on. I'm totally honored that anyone even takes the time to read this blog in the first place. I'm afraid that more than one post per month could lead to reader burn-out, and the last thing I want to do is jeopardize my fan base of six loyal followers. The second qualifier is that I'd like to apologize in advance if this post sounds a little bit like a poorly-written presidential speech or a crappy nondenominational sermon. I'm a little extra heady these days so bear with me.
The third and final qualifier to this post is that I was torn when choosing the topic. In the wake of the recent Boston Marathon bombings it seems frivolous to write about anything else, but it is also such a delicate, emotionally charged and painful topic that I was reluctant to write about it at all. In the end I decided to write about the marathon events in an indirect way. I decided to focus on the question everyone seems to keep asking themselves in the wake of all this sadness. That question is 'What the hell is wrong with people these days anyway?'
9/11, Newtown CT, the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Virginia Tech massacre and now the Boston Marathon bombings - just to name a few. Sigh. Let's all move to The Netherlands right? We can't accept the idea that there is just no good reason for all this insanity, so we start looking for answers. What's wrong with society? What's wrong with our laws or law makers? What's wrong with our family values? What's wrong with the media? Where are we missing the mark as a country and as a human race that such unthinkable events keep taking place?
Of course everyone has their theories. A close family member of mine says the Internet is the problem (clearly, this family member is over the age of sixty). She argues in the "old days" if you were insane/crazy/evil you had to sit in your house and be crazy all by yourself. It was just you, possibly your family, and your crazy. Maybe, if you were lucky, you could hook up with someone else in your travels who was the same brand of crazy as you, and the two of you could be crazy together. Today however, you can just hop online and find a whole community full of people who, (as luck would have it) are your exact same brand of crazy. They will talk crazy with you, make you feel justified in your craziness and even give you new and exciting ideas on how to execute your crazy desires. You can join a forum and talk crazy all day long with crazies form all around the world - what fun. While I get her point I'm not sure the Internet is entirely to blame.
Other folks say it is the need for stricter gun control, stronger religious foundations, banning violent video games, reducing the use of prescription drugs, more traditional family structures, the list goes on. I'm going to wimp-out and take the opinion of not having an opinion. I have some ideas of course, but I'm going to defer to an earlier post about opinions and shoving them down the throats of others - in other words, I'm going to keep my opinions to myself on this one. We are all entitled to our own thoughts and feelings about the world we live in and the reasons why such unthinkable things take place in it. You go ahead and have your opinions - I'm sure they're great, and I'm sure there is lots of solid logic and good reasoning behind them. Sadly, even if we knew for certain the "why?" it wouldn't change the past. It couldn't undo what happened, and it couldn't bring back the sweet little eight year old boy who lost his life on Monday or heal the hundreds of people who were injured. It starts to feel overwhelming and hopeless - as though the problem is too big to solve. What the hell is wrong with these people is all we can say - as though "these people" are everywhere and the bad outweigh the good.
A popular quote that went viral throughout the course of the last week came from an unlikely source. It came from comedian Patton Oswalt who wrote the following in the days after the marathon bombing - he said: "I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, 'Well, I've had it with humanity.' But I was wrong. This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness. But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago. So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, 'The good outnumber you, and we always will.' "