The simple fact of the matter is that there is a crisis that has been building under the fragile skin of society that has barely been addressed, much less publicly voiced. Because too many of us are too afraid to say anything out loud. I’ve been one of those people too, but can’t be any longer.
Too much time has been spent pointing fingers at other people and their minor indiscretions, turning blind eyes to the glaring problems in front of our faces.
There has been a push in recent years to “see something, say something” regarding a wide variety of subjects – everything from rude words someone says or appalling behavior at a ballgame, threats of violence in school or against others, people who buy too much fertilizer at Home Depot or a certain type of gun from a pawn shop, the neighbor who turns a fall on a crack in your sidewalk into a Judge Judy case, parents who place backpacks with tail leashes on their kid to keep track of them in public places… There is a good side to such awareness and a dangerous side to it as well.
The list of over-saying everything that is seen or unseen into a landmark event of money-making, law-wielding proportions is growing into epic proportions. To the point that there is hardly anywhere a person can go without feeling like Big Brother and Little Sister and the rest of the world is recording your every wrong move, loud word, or inadvertent mistake for either posterity, a police report, or legal action.
And yet for that exact reason, the people whose voices truly need to be heard are overshadowed and terrified to say anything.
More often than not because they are either too terrified of the physical consequences of speaking out against the REAL injustices and violence and abuse that has been raged against them…
OR because they do not think that anyone will actually believe them if they do tell the truth about the mental illness of a loved one or the subsequent abuse…
OR because they do not really know how or where to seek the help that is truly needed for the abuser or for the abused, the mentally ill or the victim…
OR because there just aren’t enough good, safe places and compassionate people and change-making organizations that will respond in a meaningful, helpful, protective way…
OR because we just don’t know how to help anyway, even if they did speak up.
And thus the cycle continues of abuser and abused, of tragedy and loss, of hiding and fear.
There has been so much of an emphasis placed on everyone being a victim of something, however minor it may be, that we have forgotten and overlooked those who truly are helpless and hope-lost and fear-full. We have allowed those who suffer in silence to remain silent.
And thus we enable those who wield power and terror over those of us who, although perhaps well-meaning, loving and hope-filled, are too quiet to make a dent in the shouting loudness of hatred and fear.
We give them a free pass to continue to hold us in the vice grip because we just don’t know what to do… because we don’t hear or scare off those who know firsthand what can happen in the name of supposed love, nevermind what such unstable and unpredictable individuals could do to those without such a bond… because it is easier and supposedly safer to not bully the bully.
When we ignore or do not accurately name and call out those among us who need real help and mental health professionals, we are endangering not only ourselves if we are abused or we know someone who is abused, but the rest of society as well who could potentially suffer the wrath of untreated violent and unstable people on the edge of public meltdown or gut-wrenching tragedy.
The fact of the matter is that, unless I’ve missed a huge change in the world, violence still begins with a person.
They can use different means to their end – fists, box cutters, bombs, words, guns, drones, missiles… But there still have to be people on the other end of the device. As far as I know, machines have yet to develop emotions and mental health issues unless the user applies a cause to the effect of the machine being used for destruction or terror or death.
Maybe there is a life-long list of reasons behind the horrific choices that some individuals make to bring about acts of hatred against other people, whether in the US or in the world…
Maybe there was a life-long history of being abused or neglected or mistreated or untreated that built up within the soul that eventually erupted in terror against someone else, anyone else.
Maybe there is a life-long need that has gone unfilled for clearly too long – a need to be loved or cared for sufficiently – whether to result in loving someone enough to get the help that is necessary to protect oneself or others or in loving someone enough that they don’t search in (really) wrong places for acceptance or love.
Whatever the reason behind the madness, we just simply aren’t doing enough to address the heart of the matter. And that just is not OK. Not anymore.
Because lives depend on what we do to keep life-altering, life-ending tragedies from occurring at all, much less at terrifyingly increasing frequency…
To continue reading… Part 3 – what can be done
To go back… Part 1 – what good is hiding in fear