Baton Rouge Louisiana
Terrorism, Racial Inequality, Fear.
I wish I had some profound insights to share but I don't. I'm just a normal guy trying to make his way in the world. So aren't we all.
I'm sure you've felt some of the same frustrations as the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes but you dare not express them lest you be labeled a radical sympathizer.
Is Western society far too enamored with money and power? Does it elevate the inconsequential above social responsibility?
Of course it does.
Do the people we trust with our safety view us as their wards or potential adversaries? Sadly your complexion has an effect on that judgement.
Too many labels: Black, White, terrorist, racist, capitalist, rich , poor, smart, dumb.
We become prisoners of our cultural indoctrination. Threaten the construct at your own peril. The wrongs of the world are caused by the other guy. The one that doesn't look like us, doesn't pray to the same god, doesn't see the world the way you do.
It stokes a fire of frustration that becomes a blinding rage.
I'm no better than you. I have my own biases and prejudices and I confess I don't know as much about the world as I should.
What I do know is that the more you try to control the world the looser your grip on it becomes.
When you create a culture of denial your reap what you sow. When you disenfranchise others for your own benefit civil discourse becomes impossible.
This is how Dallas, Baton Rouge, Nice and Paris happened. This is also how 911 happened.
I shed no tears for Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein or Micah Johnson. I see them as bloody opportunists seizing the message of the disenfranchised for their own ends.
It's what politicians do just without the guns and bombs.
When your message is one of exclusion and your world view narrow and unyielding you create an incubator for terrorism and violence.
Yes, the perpetrators are guilty of their own crimes but we have to take some responsibility for the environment that created them.
There's always a catalyst, a spark, something that lights the fire. Ignorance and indifference only fans the flames.
Even Adolf Hitler didn't rise alone like some biblical Anti-Christ as some would have you believe. He too was an opportunist taking advantage of the disenfranchised rage of a country on the verge of collapse.
We're far too content with the superficial. We want a bad guy to blame so we don't have to take any responsibility for creating him.
Worse, the world we live in thrives on the superficial. Social media, 24 hour news cycles, news delivered by "personalities" without even the suggestion of objectivity.
The message is controlled, massaged and pre-packaged. We're spoon fed copious amounts of useless information.
We think activism is best accomplished by a Tweet or Facebook like.
As though a click will end hunger, oppression, and economic disparity.
People are not being heard unless they make it into the news cycle and then only the most radical. Is it any wonder with such low information that we think every Arab is a terrorist, Every Black man a criminal, Every Latino an illegal immigrant.
We caused this. We created this environment and it will continue unless we acknowledge our complicity in it.
They say we should create the world we want to see. Creation requires knowledge. Unfortunately, what we consider knowledge is often little more than packaged diatribe.
The way to fix it?
Ask the uncomfortable questions. Challenge your mental status quo and see if there isn't a whole world you've been missing.
You can't escape the experiences your life has shown you but you can escape the ignorance.