Thursday, January 20, 2011

Digging Up Some Personal Dirt

Things can take a while to sink in/fit in/make sense in my head. On my drive to work this morning I thought some more about the shootings out in Arizona and the media response to it. Most people have moved past it to more recent news but I am just starting to figure it out.

It would be nice to apportion blame to a larger force than a lone, crazy gunman. It is human nature to want to find a reason behind something that has disturbed us and if it was a lone crazy gunman the reasoning stops there. No linear thinking or reasoning involved. So we start to blame everyone but the most obvious instigator. We blame the "other." And the media played into our collective deep, dark needs.

I think the truth is that it was a lone crazy gunman. But just saying the shooter had faulty wiring doesn't satisfy our need to seek retribution. Punishing an insane person serves no one- they won't ever show remorse or be deterred by punishment. Only a sane person can understand the concept of cause & effect, crime & punishment.

But I don't think this lets everyone else off the hook. And by "everyone else" I mean the people who have used inflammatory language in this current social climate. We all need to respect the power of words- their ability to strengthen, destroy, marshal, belittle and enlighten. Political and military leaders have used language to sway and persuade. It is a huge disservice to our ability to communicate if we say we cannot make someone do something with words alone.

I also think it is human nature to try to find a place to put our strong emotions. I think the young shooter had huge feelings of anger, hate & resentment. His past shows a history of similar problems. I think he latched onto a seeming struggle between our political factions and poured his feelings into it. And these feelings allowed him to turn people into enemies, something less than human. He conflated anger into moral right.

And I think there is a much smaller lesson to take away. And I will make it personal here. As I struggle with feelings inside of me- sorting, dividing, dismissing & exploring- the confusion wells up in me. I find I lash out, make pronouncements, ask and weep as I struggle to make sense of it all. And those around me pay. I pour my heap of confusion into my bucket of relationships.

But I would like to think that a love that binds will keep them by me as I do for them.

Sarah uncovering more dirt. Or is it a new lily garden?

1 comment:

Michelle said...

that is what buckets are for.