Today I grieve, for a world which far too often erupts in violence. For a world in which we do not truly know who we can trust. For a world in which stories grow larger than life, too often do not put salve on wounds but instead open wounds, inflaming, irritating, causing blood to flow.
Our police officers are shooting young people and being accused of racism; our young people are engulfed in a world of tension and subjected to violent responses to irritants, too often mimicking those violent responses rather than using logic or reason. Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in flames and anger last night after the Grand Jury’s verdict was announced, acquitting the police officer of guilt. Were they right? Will we ever know with certainty who is right? Is it a case of one of the parties being completely right and the other completely wrong? I suspect not. Our children are not always innocent, we do not always know what they are doing out there beyond our vision. But neither are adults always right, neither are police always the good guys. We are all human, subject to human frailties, human biases, fear, jealousy, emotional responses.
Our young people respond to slights, bullying, being ignored, with violence. They bring weapons to schools to get their revenge. To right wrongs. They follow the lead of the adults around them, or the lead of adults they have read about, seen on television or in movies.
Bullying is the topic of the day. I regret that it happens, but I also wonder if what we are terming bullying today is what was known as “teasing” a few years ago – teasing that might irritate and inflict small wounds, but was dealt with by the recipient. I survived a number of incidents that I guess could have been called bullying when I was a teenager. My legs were slightly bowed, and that was pointed out to me by a number of classmates during some of my school years. I was not part of an “in” group, always a bit of an outsider. But I survived. That is not to diminish the negative results of true bullying, but we seem to be a nation of over-reacting in so many situations, it makes me wonder how much can be believed, how much should be taken to heart.
Where does the blame belong? On parents, for failing to provide stability, love, security? On television and movies, for glorifying violence? On our government, for responding to threats – real or implied – with violence? For failing to act in a manner of resolve, behaving like intelligent people, using reason and logic? Have we forgotten to teach about responsibility for our actions? Have we lost our ability to view with objectivity? I wish I had the answers.
Today I grieve.