I was set to post a blog last week about how men have gotten weaker throughout the years, but then the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut occurred and it suddenly didn’t seem appropriate to be controversial for the sake of being controversial while so many people had their lives ripped away from them. I didn’t want to be funny, because every time I read another story about those poor children, my body would shiver. There had been so many shootings in my lifetime, but something about this one made my skin crawl. Imagining how someone could walk up to a child and shoot them in cold blood made me so sad, so angry and so frightened by the world around us.
The little boy who told his teacher he knew karate and could help lead them to safety or the one child whose father was a cop that would come protect them. The little girl who hid amongst other dead bodies and emerged covered in blood, alive, but emotionally scarred for life. Images of the chilling scene of a young Dexter sitting in a pool of blood came to my mind immediately, as I wonder how this young girl will cope with the atrocities around here as she grips with survivors’ guilt, post traumatic stress, and the realization that many of her friends are no longer with her. I think of the teachers who risked their lives and wonder if I would have the strength to do so, or if I would just freeze in the face of terror. I would like to think I would protect those around me, but we never know until the moment happens…and we never want that moment to happen.
I get mad at the guy on the train who looks at a picture of one victim and says, “Such a shame…she was so beautiful,” as if he would deal with it better if the woman was ugly. I get angry at the people who immediately called for gun control, almost gleefully discovering a new tool in their tool box for arguing the need for such measures. And on the other side of the chess table, these gamesmen who also use innocent victims as pawns, and seem saddened about the tragedy only because they fear it might galvanize some movement to strike against the Right to Bare Arms. They immediately jumped on Facebook with arguments, literally pointing out that ONLY 37 people die each day due to the unlawful use of guns vs. the number saved by the lawful use of guns. Only 37…a day. Just 37…a day. Less important people, according to these heartless people, who can only use a terrible situation to push their own agenda.
I get angry that there are people out there who will support a killer on Facebook, posting such horrible messages and joking about a tragedy, because they feel indestructible being able to hide their face behind a computer screen and hurtful words. I even get angry at those who feel the need to entertain them, fueling their egos, by bombarding them with insults that don’t hurt, but actually justify their sophomoric behavior.
And I get angry at the media. I used to be a journalist. I know the rush a writer feels from covering horrific stories. Why did I end up staying in journalism when I was thinking of leaving to become a teacher? 9-11. The towers fell and my journalism juices kicked in as I ran from story to story, feeling the adrenaline rush; the source of which were thousands of deaths. I didn’t even have a moment to mourn or feel bad. All I did was write, interview, write some more, looking for possible angles that would help “tell the story” that in reality we all know would be more beneficial to my career than those who lost their loved ones that day.
I think that is where my true anger lies these days. It’s the media that fuels everything I’ve discussed above. You only realize it when you step away and see it for what it is…men and women doing their jobs (because…let’s be honest…they will get fired if they don’t), not even realizing the damage they are causing, because they lose themselves in their work.
“How did it feel to lose your daughter?” “Could you describe what it was like to watch those around you get shot?” “Could you describe what happened,” they asked to the child who could not even comprehend the terror if he even tried. It’s probably better if she cries on camera, they think of the teacher who told her students she loved them to keep them calm. It’s a sad reality, especially today, as the competition from blogs continues to grow.
They plaster the killer’s face everywhere…whether it’s the almost iconic image of the Batman shootings or the emotionally disturbed child who went on a rampage he probably didn’t even understand. They make celebrities of killers. Name every person killed by Charles Manson? Name the women killed by Ted Bundy? In two years, how many people will remember the killer’s name before they remember the children’s names? We put posters of celebrities in our room as a child; in our dorms as a young adult. We journalists do the same with killers and it’s a damn shame, because it ends up glorifying their acts of terror, and gives someone equally emotionally unstable a “hero” to fixate on. These children can’t rationalize why what he did was wrong – they just see that he got the attention they would like, too. We create the killers of future generations and then blame video games, movies, whatever scapegoat we can find, refusing to look in the mirror and stand up for what is right.
I’m angry, because I’m going to celebrate Christmas this year while others will always look at the holidays as a time of sadness. I’m angry, because nothing will ever change. We’ll hold memorials. We’ll make donations. We’ll hold discussions. And then time will pass and we will move on. Journalists will still become bloodthirsty fiends, ready to rip another man’s arm off to get the list of victims from a police sheriff, just to get an exclusive. We will still see incidents of horror as a reason to become angry with one another over some issue that won’t resolve the tragedy and bring people back to life. We, the collective majority, will still live on while others die unnecessarily. Our solution to every problem, as long as it didn’t happen to us, will continue to be – Let’s post on Facebook. Isn’t that all that’s expected of us today.