I was working on another post when I saw an alert about the shooting at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, California. CNN Story I put the other writing aside and knew I had to put into words thoughts that have been rattling around in my head for a few days.
At the time I am writing this blog, two adults are dead and two children have been injured. *Update. One of the children, eight years old, succumbed to his gunshot wounds.* As someone who works at a school, and who has children attending schools, it is always a bit unnerving when I hear of a school shooting. It is a lingering sense of anxiety, whispering in the back of my mind, every time I drop my children off at school. You cannot protect them from everything, but an institute of learning and exploration should not include lessons on dealing with the trauma of a shooting.
But hey, it is the world we live in, right? Putting blinders on and hoping everything is going to be OK is no solution. In fact, finding a solution to one of the many cancers of our society is a formidable task for one person to conquer alone. I am not advocating giving up and not even making an attempt, but sitting here in front of my computer, the problems are many and the solutions far too few.
Before I add my random thoughts to a very contentious debate, I want to ask a question. It seems a simple question, but I am discovery answers to it are difficult to find. The question is why. Simple right. Just why?
Why do we hate so much?
Why must we drop bombs filled with poisonous gas on anyone, much less children?
Why must we drive vehicles into areas crowded with pedestrians?
Why must we strap explosives to ourselves and blow up a church?
Why must we walk into a church or a school, or a nightclub or a theater and indiscriminately shoot people because they believe differently than we do?
Why are we so afraid?
Why do we vilify those who look different?
Why is it a ‘sin’ to believe something different than we believe?
Why are we afraid of change?
Why do we allow others to use our fears to control us?
Why do you covet what others have instead of being happy for what you have earned?
Why do you get mad when someone gets in front of you on the highway?
Why does someone having a different viewpoint piss you off?
Why do we allow our anger to control us?
I could go on, but I still do not think I will get many good answers to my questions. I firmly believe most humans have the mental capacity to determine right from wrong. Yet time and again we prove to be experts at rationalization. We tell ourselves little (or big) lies so we can sleep at night and not be ashamed of the person we see in the mirror the next day. I am not perfect, and certainly have stumbled along the way. But, it frustrates me so much to see innocent people being hurt or killed senselessly. Life is hard enough already without chemical bombs and drive-by shootings to worry about. If we spent half as much time, money, and energy creating and cooperating as we do destroying, many of the problems we face as a species could be solved. To destroy is easy, to create is difficult, and we humans certainly are good at being our own worst enemy.
Here is where I do my small part, maybe moving the needle slightly to the good. I am going to ask a small favor. Starting now, and going forward, try to add a little good to the world each day. It could be a smile for a stranger, helping a neighbor, or not blowing up a train station. Everyday, if we all add a little instead of subtracting, we might turn this world into a much more positive place.
Would you please? I mean, I did ask nicely, right?