se-je soft

The nation is reeling today, a day after the horrific events in Newtown, Connecticut. So unnecessary. So disturbing. So troubling. It is impossible to not feel the world being a little bit heavier today.

But with all the newfound screaming about gun control and mental illness, it seems to me that so many are missing the point. It’s not really about either of these things.

I was lying on a massage table yesterday afternoon, and after about 30 minutes of silence and muscle therapy, I finally asked my therapist if she had been locked inside all day, or if she had seen any news. She had heard. She was saddened and troubled, especially since her family is from Connecticut. She had spoken to her sister and they were both scared and struggling.

She asked me why I thought this happened. I mumbled one word…Anger.

I have been troubled for years about how much anger we carry around. In our sports, in our music, in our politics, in our culture. On the Internet – especially on the Internet.

Our tone is so angry. It’s all about war, about winning, about being right at all costs. Victory. My side is better than yours.

The Presidential election (remember that, so long ago?) was awful. By both sides, no matter who you supported. Both were condescending. Both were deaf. Both were mean. Both were angry.

Facebook comments, blog posts, comments on news stories – 75% anger, venom, and simple mean spiritedness (which is easy behind the curtain of an anonymous username).

Look at the anger and violence on TV (do we really NEED three or four different version of CSI – all about dead people and murder??) Do we really need to pay for bands called Bullet for my Valentine?

Do we need to continue to glorify war? Apparently (and this may not be fact) the shooter at Sandy Hook was in full ‘military’ gear. The Aurora Theater shooter was in full military armor. I am not criticizing military gear, by any means, but it makes me wonder where they are getting this idea?? The Call of Duty: Modern Warefare video game made $1 Billion dollars in the first 16 days of its release – and the franchise has made Activision over $4 Billion dollars to date. Imagine what $4B would do for our schools, or our healthcare system.

But back to the point. I am not saying ANY of these are the cause – I am saying the underlying tone of ALL of them are the cause. Anger is prolific – it is everywhere. And maybe those who are troubled, who are lonely and who feel like an outcast are flashing back, not to family, not to those who they trust or who reaches out a hand to help, but to these destructive releases of anger. Rage is cheaper now than it was in the past, it’s more fun, more of a game.

We don’t yet know why the suspect did what he did. We frankly don’t know what broke the Aurora shooter, or Virginia Tech, or so many of the others. Why were they so angry and who didn’t listen to them?

I think it’s time we all, each and every one of us, stop posting quippy quotes on the web, stop taking pictures of our breakfast, and spend an extra 10 minutes with a friend or family member. Hold their hand a split second longer and ask them how they are doing. Not on Facebook, in person. Speak to them. Make eye contact.

My massage therapist suggested that everyone in America get a massage on the same day – imagine what that would do, if we could simply stop for 45 minutes, surrender ourselves to another person, and feel what it is like to be calm, be in the moment. What it is like to speak softly again.



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