Monday, December 17, 2012

Time to Feel Small, then Brave

There are certain moments in the world that remind us of how small our actual problems are. To quote Bogey from Casablanca, “it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world”. Truer words were never said. That and, “Dear God, it’s got my face!”

It’s true in the face of deep tragedy our simple, selfish problems don’t really mean a whole heck of a lot. I’m aching for a woman to love, I have to go Christmas shopping among the throngs of other Christmas shoppers, I have to pay bills, save money, figure out why my knee hurts when I walk, go to work, be bored, spend too much on booze and of course, complain. In light of recent national events, I feel like a prick.

It’s in our nature however to be focused on our own lives and try to survive as best we can. It often takes a moment of true horror and terror to remind us of the delicate foundations our selfish behaviors are based on. Our problems, our issues, our minor complaints pale in comparison, but yet, in six months, most of us will have moved on and will be planning how to spend those first warm days of summer. I’m sure I’ll be pining over some woman I met on the internet who seemed interested but then faded very quickly because I said something about liking dusk too much. Or pining over the girl that got away. One of the two I’m sure.

It will happen though. We’ll heal and move on. We have no other choice. It is our evolutionary ability to adapt that allows us to continue. If we simply collapsed at the first tragedy we never would have moved off the African savannah after that saber-tooth tiger attack got Uncle Gak. (Poor Uncle Gak. He good. Make fire.)

 Once the tears are cried and the flowers have wilted and the last Facebook post has been made, we will have to face the harsh and uncomfortable reality that action must be taken. Logical action based on realistic goals and tangible targets. I don’t think all guns should be destroyed. I don’t believe all mental patients are dangerous. I do think that a gun in the hands of the incompetent is dangerous however. Incompetence, ignorance and a simple lack of compassion for the people that live with us on this planet needs to be addressed.

It has always been my opinion that bravery, courage and the thing that makes men and women heroes is their ability to use their words rather than just drawing a gun and shooting at the, “bad guys”. The heroes work to reform through awareness and a dedication to a world that is less violent. Bravery is not found behind the barrel of a weapon, but in the willingness to charge forward knowing that what you’re doing is for the greater good and you are willing to lay your life on the line to achieve it, even if you never get to see it. There are only a few situations in my memory that I can say where the hero was the guy with the gun. (And those just might be movies).

So it’s time to stop feeling small and start feeling brave, time to support those that need the means and tools to eradicate incompetence, ignorance and encourage compassion and the sense that we’re all in this together. 

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