Seeing as my formative years found me navigating both the best and worst of the 1980s and 90s (no easy feat) – and my early adulthood watching in disbelief as the towers fell and we were a country once again at war – Monday’s terrorist act came as no surprise.
That’s not to say I wasn’t disgusted, and the images provided me via the Associated Press – in particular those images I found too disturbing for publication – were enough to have me on the verge of tears.
But I wasn't surprised. And now, let the conspiracy theories run rampant.
Yes, of course, people are already blaming our president; our gun laws (or lack thereof, depending on your point of view); the lack of diligence at your local retailer when trying to purchase a pressure cooker; Saudi princes; al Qaeda; bin Laden (even though he's no longer among the living ... or is he?); climate change; and same sex marriage, among other moronic ponderings.
Or maybe it's North Korea ... or Iran ... or Iraq ... or Afghanistan. Who knows?
Then again, maybe this was an act of domestic terrorism, because God only knows we have our fair share of malcontents right here in the United States, seeing as the line between enlightenment and ignorance is, in all seriousness, a blurry one during this age of modern technology and 24-hour news networks.
Let’s face it, we have an ever-growing violent streak here in America, no matter what topic might be up for debate. It’s that “my-way-or-the-highway” mentality; that “don’t you dare try to take away my rights or you might get hurt.”
There’s no polite discourse, no discussion, no patience and absolutely zero empathy.
Simply put, we are turning (or have turned) – as a nation – into a mass of whining, selfish children.
As for manners, those seem to have been lost by the wayside over the past couple of generations. And while you still see people holding doors for others or fishing in their pocket for spare change when the person ahead of them in the grocery line is a couple cents short, what you don’t see is this ... a willingness to listen; to consider another’s opinion no matter how much you may disagree. This holds true whether you’re discussing gun control, same-sex marriage, religion or any topic, really, that’s currently making headlines.
Most disturbing, however, our tendency to take a tragedy like that in Boston on Monday and use it politically. Without getting into the whole gun debate, due primarily to the fact that I am neither for nor against either side of said debate, I must say I’m saddened (and that’s putting it mildly) by those who immediately started with the, “Now what are they going to do, make you register if you want to buy a pressure cooker ... or nails ... or a set of kitchen knives ... on and on.
Without going too far (I hope), those of you who feel that way ... well, there’s obviously something wrong. Because during a time of crisis such as this, our thoughts and prayers should be turning to those injured and killed following this most recent terrorist act ... and with their families. As previously stated, however, I simply don’t see that happening. Why? Because for too many people out there, a personal agenda, no matter how misguided, is far more important than considering the pain and suffering faced by others.
That’s selfish. That’s sad. And to be honest, that is sick.
Thankfully, there are those out there who truly do care, and who were raised to value others’ opinions and debate respectfully; those who put the hardships of others before their own. During times like these, there is no rivalry, no Yankees versus Red Sox, no us versus them ... or at least there shouldn’t be.
Wouldn’t we be better off admitting to ourselves that we’ve allowed partisan bickering to go on long enough? Isn’t it time we began acting with pride in regards to this great country?
Perhaps it’s simply too late for that.
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