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Saturday, December 15, 2012

When Tragedy Strikes

My attitude around loss sometimes gets me in trouble with other people, who mistake my admission of lack of control to a cavalier dismissal. It is not. Here are my thoughts: While it is a true tragedy what happened in CT, yesterday, it was beyond all of my control. I cannot control an errant, ill person who commits such a crime; nor the deaths of innocents; nor the deaths of those attempting to protect them. I cannot deem whose time it is to move on to the next realm and whose time it is to stay. I have no ability to heal those who've suffered the tragedy. I have no say, at all.

This, in no way, diminishes the sad and horrific events. It is merely an admission of true powerlessness. I have also taken notice that, when events such as these occur, people want to DO something. They want to regulate something. They want to pass laws. They want to make a difference to try to prevent it in the future. Delaware was a wonderful case in point on this fouled attempt. Earl Bradley, who is perhaps the most prolific child sex offender ever prosecuted in the USA was a Delaware pediatrician who amassed more than 100 known victims, most under the age of 12 months. He video taped many of the assaults. He was successfully stripped of his medical license, tried, convicted, and incarcerated for the rest of his life. But, then Delaware did the predictable things -- they wanted to DO something. So, they passed 26 pieces of legislation in response to the tragic evil of one man. The legislation is redundant and contradictory in some cases. It also does nothing to prevent the act from occurring. There were already systems in place to address these issues. The problem was that the entities and agencies in charge of doing so didn't follow their own protocols, not that they were powerless or unable to act. But, Delaware, like most people, wanted to point the finger and assign blame. Was that really necessary? How does it help the victims to further convolute our legal system with more laws? Its will never prevent tragedy.

I hear, again, the cry for gun law restriction. There are no ongoing psychological evaluations required to own a weapon. Unless we are willing to create those laws, there is no reason to further regulate weaponry. And, lets face it: the only persons impacted by gun laws are law-abiding citizens. Criminals do not buy their guns in legal ways. They buy them on the street, unregistered, from other criminals. They will ALWAYS have access to weapons. Making gun laws stricter does nothing but keep weapons out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. It makes no sense. (Yes, I am a gun owner. Yes, I have the RIGHT to defend myself against those who would do me harm in this world.)

If you really want to DO something, pray. Pray for all involved, including the perpetrator and his family. If we truly want human kindness to be a part of the reality of the fabric of our universe, than we need to begin to practice it ourselves. Otherwise, its all just lip service. Hug your own loved ones. Tell them what they mean to you. Be a good friend, parent, partner, lover, child, etc. Work to be a loving influence in the lives of others, every day, not just when something terrible happens. We shouldn't need reminders to be kind to our beloveds.

Finally, I've heard, repeatedly, by well-meaning and kind people in their comments on this particular tragedy how the world is a "big...lonely...scary...terrifying...awful" place. IT IS NOT! I so sincerely hope that none of those people believe that. Because, therein lay our biggest problem. Our world is NOT a scary or cruel place. Our world is amazing, joyful, filled with light and love and phenomenal people and things. I can only imagine that these people have fallen victim to our sensationalistic and interloping media, who focus so intently on every awful thing, with no mention of the positive, that people begin to believe their lies and misrepresentations. Let me help you put things into perspective: How many bad things have happened to you, this year? Now, how many good things? I would venture to bet that the list is pretty even. And, if you really think about it, there are probably far more blessings than challenges. There are lots of psychological reasons why we focus heavily on those situations which are tragic...there is actually good brain science that explains how we feel more impact and are more likely to remember traumatic events than good ones. Therefore, our thinking mind requires us to put things in appropriate perspective.

I do not watch the news media's representations of human cruelty. They are invasive. They repeatedly and uncaringly re-victimize the victims, the families, and the communities. They care not who they get their sound-bytes from or whether that source is responsible or, even, involved and informed. Its offensive to me. I will not encourage their misrepresentation of the world in their vain attempts to garner readers, viewers, or participation.

I will not ruminate on the details of this or any other tragedy. I will not talk about it with others. I will say my prayers and move forward. There is quite enough negative energy in our world. I will not contribute to that layer of negativity any further. I will be positive, and contribute love and light. I have always believed that we reap what we sow. If we put nothing but negativity in the world, we are letting those who would spread darkness win. Does that sound dramatic? Maybe. But, its truth, isn't it? The constant struggle between light and dark, good and evil, love and sorrow is really the definition of our lives, in sum total. I choose light, love, and good. I will focus myself there. I hope that others will join me.