digging down to the real problem


Today I'm in a bit of a shock.

The latest mall suicide shooter hit the mall we go to, when we have the occasion to go to a mall. I take Remy to the Lego store there for a treat sometimes. M and I see movies there.

(Thank goodness he did not shoot anyone other than himself. But still, I know that being around a gun which is pointed near you is trauma enough.)

That mall is literally close to home, for me.

At this point, haven't we all been somewhere touched by this mass violence? The United States is a very big country, but this epidemic isn't slowing down.

So here is my question: when the hell are we going to stop looking away (entertained by our distractions, which are addictive and anesthetizing and seem designed to be both) and address the core issue?

Something is fundamentally wrong with us, that this kind of "incident" is happening more and more. That poverty is on the rise, that the middle class is getting shut out, and that all of this consumerism (which only benefits a very select few) is ruining the only planet we've got. That we are so distracted, we're not even noticing the water rising around us. Or we see it, but then we go right back to our latest text/update/movie/TVshow - this is my life, I'm describing right now. I'm not placing blame on anyone else - this is my life too. I am being distracted just as much as anyone else.

Look over there! People are naked! Get mad (or aroused) about that! Meanwhile, we're fucking the planet over another couple of degrees and not paying workers decent wages, and oh - how about this? Mental health meds are still absurdly high! And we're all writing about Miley Cyrus and whether or not she should be naked.

I don't have any answers. I've been having this conversation (mostly with my husband, sometimes online) for a very long time now. I don't know how we can change what is essentially mythologized already in our culture?

The myth of multitasking.

The myth of "I'm special" - so texting while driving statistics don't apply to me.

(If I can convince you of one thing: don't text and drive.)

The myth of Facebook being a valid social replacement - and that's a myth I've personally bought heavily into. But who on Facebook is going to come to my house and take care of my kid if I get sick? Yes, my online friends will be really sad that I'm sick, and they are awesome at giving virtual hugs, but virtual hugs don't actually help me take care of my life.

As I said, I don't have the answers, but we really need to start having this discussion in our own houses, in our own lives. I think we need to start having this conversation everywhere, so it can go viral.

(Yes, irony: using technology to talk about turning off technology once in awhile.)

Here's where I've started: turn off notifications, at the very least while you're driving and hopefully while you're interacting with any live human being.

Sit and think for a little while.

(Sit and don't think, even.)

Teach kindness. Keep teaching kindness. Keep spreading kindness. Be kind. Be kind to yourself and others.

I don't have the answers, but I think those are good places to start.