Monday, December 17, 2012

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS: Finding Our Humanity

Sometimes things happen for which there are really no words.  And when such things occur, that's when everybody (and their brother!) has something to say.

Usually it is always some form of blame.  Over this weekend, I have watched and read and heard (as has most of all of you!) as TV pundits, newspapers, my friends, my family and (of course) the Internet have theorized, accused, opined and grieved over the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT that killed 26 people (including 20 children) on Friday, December 14, 2012.  Amid the cacophony were people looking for a solution to such tragedies.  But the ultimate answer to that is that there is none.  And I don't mean we should let things like this happen, because they shouldn't and we shouldn't.  But what I mean is that there isn't just one solution to the multiple problems that led to a horrible crime against nature like the one on Friday.

Of course there are the legal and medical questions.  How did such a young man obtain so many assault rifles?  Why was this young man, who was said by those who knew him to have a "severe personality disorder," not under a physician or therapist's care?  Several articles have been written about renewing the Gun Control argument and several politicians have spoken about the issue.  Blog posts have been dedicated to chiding the mental health community and health care in general.  There even has been the point made (and it is not the first time!) that the Media is in part to blame for such an event.  And while I don't agree that Media is entirely responsible, I will say our 24/7 "need-to-get-the-story-out-first" Media outlets (run by the "dreaded" Corporations!) do not help in such matters and oftentimes make certain things worse.

Ah, the Corporations!  They run our insurance companies.  They control our TV Networks, Hollywood Studios and Publishing Houses.  And they even lobby our government to let them have such monopolies (no offense to Parker Brothers!).  And I would even agree (to an extent!) that the overall Corporation-ing of our culture has made us lose a bit of ourselves.  I mean, when I think of how much certain companies own in this society, I am reminded of the great Benjamin Franklin quote:

  • They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
We have given a lot of things up in the name of safety, convenience and even (ironically!) communication.  But, with all respects to Dr. Franklin, I don't think it is just liberty or freedom we have "given up."  I think we have, in several ways, sacrificed our humanity.

And yes, I know I am not the first person to say such a thing, but I feel at this time (more than ever) it is important for people to remember.  We need to take back our humanity.  And it begins with us...on the individual level.  We need to check-in with each other, talk to each other and be there for each other.  We have all these things at our disposal - Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), E-Mail and all kinds of cell phones! - and we are not using them to communicate.

So I charge you, my readers, to go out and actually communicate with the people in your lives.  Find out about them.  See how they are.  If they have a problem, listen to them or help them if you're able.  Use the mediums at your disposal if you need.  And don't just do it over the Holiday season.  Do it all year round.  We cannot let people slip through the cracks in our society.