Topic Tuesday #128 2014/12/30 - "The Enemy is Fear"
I am little more than an armchair quarterback, and at most I play at being a pundit. I sit here and pluck headlines and talk about them. Some of them are more obscure or more interesting than others, on purely personal notes of interest. This Tuesday, I want to offer something on the state of violence that has permeated our media, and thereby our minds.
Once upon a time I was interested in serving the people. I wanted to make a difference and I was thinking that the way to go about that was to go into law enforcement. Yes, I do have a great respect for the law and follow the process with great interest, even if you may find my other commentary to the contrary. I did just a little cursory examination of life in law enforcement and I changed my mind. I discovered that I have a greater respect for life (particularly my own) than for the law. Call it a fear of lead... I had/have no desire to be shot at. I also did not join the armed services, much for the same reasons. I have become a conscientious objector over the years. I prefer diplomatic solutions to blunt force trauma.
Sometimes force is what is needed. For that, there are men and women that are more daring than I. I have great respect for those that would put themselves on the line for justice.
This year, more than others in memory, has been divisive to the armed and the unarmed. We have Open Carry of long arms and small, we have school shootings, riots, and crazy men taking it into their own hands to perform vigilante justice on the streets verses the ones that have stepped up to keep the peace.
There have been many deaths at the hands of law enforcement over the years. This we know intrinsically. For some this sense of foreboding is ever present. Racial tensions and stereotyping are still very strong in 2014 and they will not be less in 2015. There are facts that are being manipulated by the powerful and the weak to make people dance to the right tune.
This is nothing new. The results, on the otherhand, are.
I implore everyone of my readers to be aware of what is going on, but to not act rashly. We are slow animals that are trying to react to too much too quickly. We are being run like a herd of cattle, by fear of predators. The trouble is, we don't know who the real threats are.
Threat detection is a key to a species survival. Typically, animalistic tendencies take the greatest of our subconscious attentions to protect us. That weird feeling of unease you get right before being snuck up on, or attacked from the side. The number one problem that our species has today is, in my opinion, threat overload. Again, our brains are only able to hold so many things in them at any given time. We don't really multitask very well, though we can keep things rolling nicely. We have too many data points to keep track of. How many new credit cards did you get this year because of hacks? Half a dozen of these and that's just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much trying to control our threat detection... We are afraid of our own shadows.
Everyone is. The ones that put themselves on the firing lines of the world, are just the same - but they expect to be shot at too. No one really wants to be harmed. Self preservation kicks into high gear and we react. Some... shoot first.
I am saddened by the tragedy that has been raking the nation, but I fear it is not as tragic as it could be. We have unprecedented access to information. Sometimes it is too much. Sometimes, it poses more questions that requires even more information.
With the troubles we have with the police, they are scared of the population they serve. They are taking measures that seem quite justified to those that feel threatened. Get bigger guns, get armor, build up defenses. It is no wonder they look like the military.
The other side of the coin is the populace is more armed. Technology is not limited to the policing forces after all. The NRA has been pushing for a more armed populace. The GOP has been doing the same. Any attempts to make it harder to have a weapon in the hands of the civilian have been met with angry vigor and a lot of money. Now you have two sides that are built to go to war with each other. Everyone is afraid. Fear makes people do stupid things. Carelessness often follows these scenarios. People go too far. Rules are broken. People are killed. Parents shot by toddlers. Men choked by police. Babies killed by stun grenades thrown into the wrong house.
Some sense of sanity needs to be restored. We need to remember that we are little more than fearful children that just want a safe place to live. We need to remember our own humanity.
My wish for 2015; Freedom - from fear.
Happy New Year.