I gave some more thought to all these latest episodes of senseless violence. I listen to debate over debate about whether stricter gun laws or taking guns away altogether is a logical answer. I think there are many factors coming into play that most people don’t even consider. Despite how people might respond, I feel the need to offer my two cents. By all means, my words are not right or wrong, they are only my personal opinion. Do I think guns are a problem? You bet I do but guns cannot kill without someone pulling the trigger. We cannot deny that people are the biggest problem. I believe you could take away every single gun but as long as there is still a lack of respect among people, this world will remain unchanged. It physically pains me that someone’s beliefs or opinions hold more value than another human life. How can people kill others just because they think a different way or live a different way? I will tell you how. People have become consumed with themselves. They are selfish and entitled to do whatever they want, even if that means taking another life. The worst part of all is there is no remorse. We have desensitized people to the value of life and the significance of how each and every person contributes in his or her way. We are made to be different and choose a lifestyle that comfortably fits. We all matter but we live in a world of contradictions. The line between black and white has faded away and we are lost in a sea of gray. I can’t ignore the All Lives Matter theme that has been so popular over the past year. What does that mean exactly? I’ve heard it altered many ways. Black lives matter, white lives matter, cops lives matter. As long as we feel the need to insert an adjective before lives, we are in serious trouble. We separate ourselves into groups and we exclude groups that make us uncomfortable or who don’t fit into our little niche. So what do we mean when we say “All lives matter?”All lives who agree with our own way of living matter? Are there exceptions or is the meaning so precise that there is no room for misunderstanding? Why am I bringing this up? Do I think the two problems are connected. Yes, I really do. Our words imply one thing and our actions imply another. I believe there is an ongoing lack of respect among people and for human life itself. If all lives mattered, there would be no abortion but we think a woman has the right to decide which lives do. Look at the death penalty. When someone kills another human being, in some states the way we deal with that issue is by killing them. How in the hell does that even make sense? I am going to punish you for killing someone and how am I going to do that? By killing you. So killing is wrong when you do it but when I sentence you to death and you are killed, then it’s okay. So which lives matter? The lives of people who do not commit heinous crimes? The lives of the tiny babies who we decide we want to keep around? The truth is lives matter when we say they do. This disrespect, disregard and dismissal of the value for each and every life because of the way we define it makes every life seem a little less significant. This lack of appreciation for the significance of each and every life along with mean, violent, crazy people who lack moral value and self control with the addition of guns is slowly destroying humanity one day at a time. If we believe we can determine which lives matter then we can continue to pick and choose whether it’s by abortion, guns, the death penalty or any other way we see fit to take that life away. This is so much more than what we see superficially. Guns don’t make people crazy, but having no regard for another’s life gives us the idea that we can take it or save it whenever and however we see fit. Don’t agree that the majority do not respect people with different views? Watch our politicians, turn on tv, pull up Facebook and look through some of the comments. Is this what respect looks like these days? Someone flips you the bird because you piss them off for driving the speed limit. Is that respect? Go to any Starbucks counter and watch how people treat the workers. “I need a cup of coffee.” You NEED one? People feel better or inferior to others. The inferior ones get swallowed up and the better ones? They are nasty, pushy bullies. Not everyone will agree and that’s okay but it is something worth considering. Is one directly linked to the other? Who really knows but I believe everything is connected excluding the people. That is the part that is truly devastating. Feeling connected is determined by too many things, the wrong things. Feeling connected is conditional and some people will sell their souls. The color of skin, the same religion, the same economical or educational level. Is that what we’ve come? We are becoming more superficial and pompous every single day. It is a travesty and I do my best to add kindness and compassion and love to a world that desperately needs it. Will that be enough? Will taking away guns be enough? How about stopping abortion and outlawing the death penalty? What will it take? Better yet, what are you willing to do?
The nightmares are starting again. I go through these phases when the little spark of fear lights itself underneath all my senses. Usually if I stay away from the news they go away, but with social media shoving headlines down my throat, sometimes it is hard to escape.
Just this week, two 18 year old boys my daughter has attended school with have been arrested. One for murder and the other rape. The calm mother inside of me tries to assure me everything will be alright but the panicked mother is feeling the fear. I felt safe at school while I was growing up. Sure, bad things happened. There were drugs and accidents and even suicides but rape and murder? Growing up in a small town, someone was always watching. Everyone knew everyone else and if my parents weren’t watching me, you can bet someone else’s parents were. I didn’t have to deal with the severity of what these teens do today. It’s hard as a parent to push the worry aside and pretend a normal day at school is still a normal day at school.
I think about the parents of these two boys. How must they feel knowing their children are in jail? Geez, they are 18 and considered an adult but to me they are still babies trying their best to grow up. This should be an exciting year. The end of their high school chapter and the beginning of who they might have been. I think about the parents of the girls. One girl dead and the other girls emotionally and physically raped. Those parents must lie awake too. My heart hurts for all of them and for our kids too. It hurts for our communities and our world as a whole. Poor impulse control, lack of supervision and a surprising lack of fear toward authorities and consequences. I’ve sat quietly by and watched the transformation. I’ve watched schools protect the wrong kids and not follow through on consequences others really needed. I’ve watched kids become apathetic when it comes to their behavior and reputation because they are so hell bent on living in the moment with little regard or thought for the future. YOLO, isn’t that the theme they live by? I watch parents paying less and less attention because they are struggling in their own bad relationships or just too busy with the demands of their job. What can I possible do? I can’t carry the burden and I cannot change what the world has become. What I can do is make sure that I communicate with my kids. Make sure they can come to me about anything going on knowing I will always be here trying to protect them. This is one of the reasons it is so important to me that home be a soft place to fall. I’m passionate about home being a place they feel loved and safe and protected for a little while each and every day. I pray I am doing all I can to help them through these difficult years and to help them make sense of the chaos around them.
I hope the nightmares stop but deep down I know the truth. When I wake up they are still there and are very much true. They aren’t nightmares at all but the reality of everyday life and I admit, my feathers are ruffled.
I guess one of the things that separates me from most is I do not accept or agree with a double standard. If I think something is wrong, it is wrong regardless of the circumstance. Recently, here in Oklahoma there has been news of a botched execution. It comes as a total shock that the very man that was questioning if the drugs offered to prisoners allow them to die humanely clearly suffered on that cold, hard table. I will post a link to the article for those that are interested. For me it is simple. Murder is bad. It is wrong and it robs someone of the life they were meant to live. I absolutely cannot support the death penalty because my feelings about right and wrong are so strong. Two wrongs never ever make a right, period. If it’s not okay for Joe Shmo to murder a human being then we punish him by murdering him? Has anyone considered how ridiculous that sounds? Who do any of us think we are that we have the right to take the life of another? It is not our gift to take away. I’m sorry, it just doesn’t sit right with my heart or soul. Many will disagree, and really that’s okay. It’s just so hypocritical to me at least in my own mind.
Some will argue that the family of the person murdered deserves justice too. Is justice making the family of the murderer go through the same agony and pain as the victims family? Is that right and just? Is that how our minds work really? Does the murderer not have a family as well or do they no longer count because someone they love committed a horrendous crime. There are so many mixed messages today and so much confusion that the line between right and wrong has been sadly blurred with what, reasoning? Sorry. You can’t pick and choose when something is and when it is not acceptable. You can but I won’t. Our eternal fate is in our own hands, we are accountable for our own decisions and our own convictions. Thou shalt not kill is pretty clear to me but we are all entitled to make our own choices. What do you think? Have you heard this story? Here’s the link. Take a look! UPDATE: Chaos after Oklahoma botched lethal injection with never-before used drug http://link.kfor.com/1irDRpF via @kfor