Patman Rising- Taking a stand

RiseUp

Today is December 19, 2012. It has been 5 days since the horrific events in Newtown, CT and I am still upset. I am sad about the 26 lives lost at the hands of a madman. Although I have never met any those who perished, or their families, I feel a loss. As a parent, what unfolded on Friday is my worst nightmare and I can’t even begin to comprehend what those families are going through. I can’t begin to comprehend the trauma suffered by the survivors. Having said all this, I am also very angry…..

In the time since the shootings, it seems everyone has an opinion on both sides of the fence. Unfortunately logging into Facebook or watching the news amplifies it. “Ban all guns!” on one side and “We need more guns, had there been armed teachers this would have been stopped!” on the other. In between is a whole lot of mudslinging, insults and grandstanding. Quite frankly, it infuriates me. That these “conversations” even need to happen is pathetic and speaks volumes about our society as a whole.

We are a self-centered society and get more so with each passing day. Facebook is a prime example. Many use it to stay in touch with family and long-lost friends, but just as many if not more use it for “hey look at me!” moments and silly grandstanding. We walk around in our own bubble, with smart phones in our hand or ear, completely oblivious to the world around us. Look at our kids, they don’t talk on the phone anymore, they text. When I was my oldest son’s age, I was always on the phone. I would spend hours on the phone with my girlfriend (infuriating my mom and siblings) and my friends, we cared about what we said. Phone conversations are a rarity. Texting and IM-ing are impersonal, there is zero feeling. It’s no wonder we don’t value anyone else’s opinion but our own as a society when we don’t personally interact with anyone.

I’ll be honest, I don’t share the same opinion regarding guns and the violence that took place last Friday. Quite frankly I was offended at the mere suggestion of arming teachers and some of the other pro-gun posts that went up. I’m also equally upset at those screaming to ban all guns. Both sides make it seem so simple, that doing one or the other will stop repeats of Newtown, Aurora, Virginia Tech and Littleton. It’s not that simple folks. This is a complex issue. The starting point, however is very simple. We need to respect one another and be open to discussion. We need to care about someone other than ourselves. Perhaps had someone cared about the shooter (I refuse to use their name) and seen the mental issues, help could have been provided and perhaps this never would have happened.

I have never been one to get overly religious(or force feed it down anyone’s throat), but I do believe in God. In John 13:34 Jesus said “I give you a new commandment ‘Love one another!'” I have friends from a multitude of faiths and some that do not prescribe to any particular belief, but whether you are Christian, Jewish, Pagan, Buddhist or even agnostic……I think that’s still pretty solid advice and I plan on doing everything I can to follow it. If more would just follow that one, we’d all be much better off.

Until next time…..

Pat

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