Thursday, December 3, 2015


THE latest mass shooting in our midst, the 6th or 7th this year alone, is undeniably mindboggling. Horribly bothersome. More than we allow fear to overcome us—we must be more concerned and then ponder and dig deeper beyond what seems to be a “no-brainer” conclusion by so-called experts. “The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world," President Obama told CBS. Hence, it is time that America looks within its house and see that while “outside forces” (eg global terrorism) is an utmost agenda, a growing swath of mayhem hisses like a dragon's ire right in our belly.

       Is it ideology, misguided “faith,” mental derangement, gun proliferation? Certainly, society will provide answers. We all provide our individual answers. But are these answers enough as “bullet-proof vests” when the next carnage pummels again or are these “professional” analyses suffice in convincing the public that—yes, peace and quiet are still possible as each and everyone pursue their own happiness in this beautiful land of promise, freedom, endowments and dreams?
       I do believe we have lost the human ability to LISTEN and instead we readily provide solutions that we feel could fix trouble areas like we are all machines with generic remedies each time we malfunction. We read and stereotype or box people's sentiments—especially anger—as an acronynmed psychobabble that needs instant response. And the only prescription for healing is a scholarly definition of words. Maybe we should listen more WHY a person is angry or sad, or why he/she keeps to him/herself more often than usual—instead of googling words and automatically consigning one's rage as a mental issue that needs to be addressed like its a cosmic freefall or a computer that just conked out.
       Prior to the San Bernardino massacre, the gunman had an argument with certain people—left and returned with his female partner in a hale of bullets. It seemed that the shooting was pre-planned or well-thought of. Which means, this man—relatively young, born in the US and a 5-year employee with a job designation that calls for steady interaction with people—has been harboring anger which apparently evolved into hatred. A kind of hatred that drove him to waste lives, including his and his partner, in deference of their months-old child that they left. Whether it is a “lone wolf” act by a disgruntled individual on a vendetta or mission to excise pain as message to a society/government that he lost trust in or a terroristic act of much wider proportions, still—these people lost the ability or belief in anything except that they hate. They hate so much that the only way to project it—is through killings and deaths.
       No God in any creed or culture admonishes or motivates its people to nurture and nourish anger and then inflict pain unto others and themselves. I don't believe that Jesus Christ or The Allah inspired their children to take lives in order to solve darkness in this world. These individuals who opted to walk the path of destruction simply lost it. Evil gains entry in unattended anger, a hallow vacuum of freezing cold. An anger that we failed to listen to because it is displeasing, loud, and painful to the ears.
       Anger has its roots, it emanates from something—we must address the source to be able to fix the outcome otherwise we may just be applying temporal or wrong remedies to calm down ire. We cannot just say, “Channel your anger!” or “Go seek counselling.” Those help but we need a more intimate understanding WHY a person loses it, what triggers the volcano in our chest to explode, and what is the best way to deal with it.
       I believe the best and most effective way to deal with anger—before it mutates into hatred—is to LISTEN with an intent to understand than hear with a need to reply. We can't do such a thing via texting or emails or phone calls. We must spend time together, be one as community—irrelevant of what we term as diversity. We must look at our common light and beauty than our differences as human beings. Moreover, we must stop our narcissism and self-righteousness that we can fix others by simply providing the “troubled ones” with cures because that's how we see things. Maybe the person concerned knows how to fix it, it's just that he has to be heard and listened to first, to be able to acquire or receive tools how to rebuild peace within.

       America is not Honduras where more gun violence occurs or Beirut where bombs fall in startling frequency. We must stop the comparisons. Deaths need not be compared at all with other deaths. We just have to try harder to prevent them as they happen in our midst. More so, America should look within and around its backyard and find out the root of what's ailing the homefront—instead of summoning experts with meds to cushion the collective pain—and then we look at other nations and cultures with a goal to correct them. We cannot fix others if we ourselves are broken and need fixing. That humility will offer more understanding and love for a better humanity. Love is not pronounced, it doesn't fall from the sky either—it is a working project, it is practiced than said. It all starts with listening—no matter that the voice roars like thunder or sings like a bird. Stay, sit tight, and listen—not with our ear but with our heart.

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