Monday, January 10, 2011

Arizona Shooting Tragic, But Telling

Today, by request, I’m going to talk about the politically-motivated shooting that took place recently in Arizona, killing 6 people and injuring 14 others. My heart goes out to those affected by this, who lost loved ones, or who are waiting in the hospital for them to recover. I hope they will find solace despite their grief, which has to be considerable.

As awful and unfortunate as incidents like this are, the one benefit we receive from them as a culture is that it makes us question things deeper than we normally do. After all, most of the terrible things in the world are taking place elsewhere to other people and it’s easy to block all that out in the business of our daily lives. But when something terrible like this happens in these United States, everyone tends to sit up a bit straighter and actually get concerned about what is happening in our culture.

So I’m going to share my thoughts as a person with Asperger’s who is constantly studying the culture around me in order to fit in enough to interact casually with neuro-typicals. Though, to be honest, I’m glad that in a lot of ways I don’t fit into the culture around me very well. I think it’s pretty fucked up, which is why I’m constantly advocating to change it.

Tell me, is it really so surprising that a culture that glorifies violence and power is constantly producing violent individuals?

People think shootings are surprising and senseless, but it makes perfect sense to me. Our culture fosters and feeds on mistrust, hatred, violence, and judgmental attitudes, so of course we create people who are mistrusting, hateful, violent and who believe they have the right to judge others.

It is my observation that everyone, no matter what, on some level believes they are a good person and that their motivations and subsequent actions are always justified. I also have observed that most people pretend to be rational when they are acting based on pure emotion and ego and then creating “logical” reasons to present to others and themselves for their actions.

Because, it turns out, whatever stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and the world are the stories we will believe and act on. That’s why if you give someone facts disproving one of their beliefs, they will simply cling to their belief with more fervor that before.

I don’t say any of this to make light of the very serious and horrible event. I am just totally convinced that peace in our nation and in our world starts within, with the stories we choose to believe and the actions that grow out of those choices. Hence the saying:

Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
-Frank Outlaw

America’s destiny is the destiny of the people who make her up. Until our collective destiny is one that points towards peace and compassion or at least genuine acceptance of differences, we will continue on the violent path we’ve collectively chosen.

Related posts:
Would You Help?
We Need a New System of Economics
Perception and Reaction to Racism Not Equal

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Helby said...

I like that quote from Frank Outlaw. Thanks for sharing!

Byron said...

Thank you, May. I was not disappointed! :)

ipv6 said...

Tell me, is it really so surprising that a culture that glorifies violence and power is constantly producing violent individuals?

Certainly. And do doubt about that.BTW i agree wth Helby, the quote is nice.