By Kathi Bliss
I had a very difficult time reading the Monday morning headlines this week. Granted, with many thanks to social media, I knew some of what I’d be opening my morning web-search to; I knew about the Ohio State incident within moments of beginning, thanks to Twitter. But a conversation with a friend of mine, about that very incident, got me to thinking.
You see, my friend is a lifer in Emergency Management. He looked straight past the human tragedy, and directly into the logistics; it was a little bit later that he realized what he’d done. What he didn’t realize, at the moment, was that I’d done exactly the same thing.
Having watched an incredible football game on Saturday afternoon, I genuinely thought the only thing I’d hear about Ohio State on Monday morning was celebration for a great victory (and no, I can’t help it, I’m an OSU fan. Watching the Buckeyes down Michigan in double-overtime compares essentially to watching the Longhorns down Oklahoma the same way. It’s a rivalry thing… we all understand it). Point being, I didn’t expect an “active shooter” incident on the Ohio State campus on Monday morning. It should have been a place of celebration, a place of great pride. And I’ve no doubt that, until about 10 a.m. (local), it was. And then hell broke loose, in the form of an angry assailant armed with a butcher knife and a four-cylinder.
Tracking the headlines to determine what had just happened in the state of my birth, I noticed something. I noticed a lack, a certain coldness. I noticed a distraction from the things that really matter.
For every headline I found about Ohio State, I found four about the Wisconsin recount. It got me to thinking. I thought about a shooting in San Antonio in which a Good Samaritan broke up an incident of domestic violence, and lost his life for the doing. Got me to thinking about a man in a Jersey mall parking lot who was killed on Friday over (allegedly) a parking space. All that thinking led me someplace I really didn’t want to go.
Do we really think this little of one another? Have we, as a so-called “civilized” society, really come to this?
It got worse, throughout the day, as I started tracking headlines. There was a “mass shooting” (defined as an incident of gun violence with victims numbering greater than four) in New Orleans on Bourbon Street over the weekend, and I never once saw a news program all weekend that addressed that before the second commercial break. Two were killed at a Kentucky youth football game. Eight were killed, and another 60 wounded, in violence across the City of Chicago over the weekend.
Sunday night, an HEB employee in the Rio Grande Valley shot four co-workers, killing one.
And then, on Monday night, I got home and checked my headlines, to discover yet ANOTHER shooting, in San Antonio – this time, because two grandmothers had a squabble during a custody exchange, and one shot the other.
Four law enforcement officers also lost their lives, in the last seven days.
And while I get that the recounts are important (although even Jill Stein and Hillary Clinton’s experts have conceded that recounts won’t change anything), and while I UNDERSTAND that President-Elect Trump melting down on social media (please, will one of his handlers deactivate his Twitter account before Jan. 20?!), I’m worried that we’re missing a bigger problem.
While all of this is going on, we have Electors, nationwide, who are having their lives threatened if they choose to do the duty they were chosen to, and not change their votes to elect Secy. Clinton. We have people OPENLY inviting terrorists to hit Trump properties worldwide. We have people, on social media saying that disagreement with their politics, be those Right- or Left-leaning, is worthy of a death sentence.
Have we become this? Have we really become THIS? We hold ourselves out as the greatest society in the world. Yet we’re so dedicated to our own ideas that we think the best way to silence those ideas is to kill those that disagree with us?
The kid that killed all those people in the theater in Colorado is crazy. He thought that he could increase his own value by increasing his body-count. Whatever side of the political spectrum we fall on, I hope we can all agree, THAT’S crazy. But when we start living in a society where we don’t rile against people thinking it’s okay to kill someone else because they don’t share our views… Haven’t we, too, gone a bit crazy? We live in a society where, all the human tragedy I just listed, and more, are actively playing out, and we’re giving headlines to Kanye West going into mental health treatment or Ben Affleck scrubbing an ancestor’s slave-owning history, instead of the wholesale slaughter of human beings… haven’t we gone a little crazy? I’m not talking about gossip sites, here, I’m talking CNN, FoxNews and USAToday.
Who ARE we?
President-Elect Trump was not my first choice. Not even my third choice. The alternative wasn’t much better. But in truth… in PLAIN TRUTH, when I stop and step back, and look around me, at what our society has become – at the way we have no value for human life, we have no value for opinions that differ from ours, no time to discuss the point, and instead go straight for the attack…
I find myself wondering, what difference does it make? What do we have left to lose?