by Terry Sterrenberg
“When I was a child I had great difficulty with the question of why human beings hurt each other. It made no sense to me that anyone could believe that shooting and killing other people resolved anything. That kind of thinking seemed stupid to me and I would get furious. Over the years my anger has tempered some and turns more into sadness and sometimes despair.”
(According to FaceBook, I wrote the above paragraph in 2011)
As an adult I have to say that my useless anger has come back. Perhaps it is regression to my wisdom as a child. Violence begetting violence, an eye for an eye, the idea that stopping a bad guy with a gun can be accomplished by providing a good guy with a gun. Such BS makes me sick to my stomach. And returns me to my childish ways.
I blame Covid. Not the virus itself, but the whole pandemic syndrome that has made people angry, confused, crazy and mindless. Of course it is not JUST Covid. Covid is just the phenomenon that has brought out the worst in many of us, pigeon holed us and sent us into separate corners where we look for like minded others who strengthen our isolation from those who have different life experience and mindsets about what is going on.
We are living in the “rub” between cooperation and competition where individuals get polarized and rigid. The spirit of competition has pitted itself against cooperation and vice versa. I wouldn’t ever say that competition or cooperation is totally bad, but we are in a transformation from a competitive society to a cooperative one. How we resolve this will determine the survival of our democracy.
When an isolated youth or adult walks into a school, theater, etc., and starts shooting, it is too late. The good guy with a gun has already been defeated. What we need are good guys with big hearts and long arms that embrace everyone and make weapons of destruction unavailable and unthinkable to those who are struggling with life. These are the people who are acting out the same struggle we all feel. A cooperative society needs to recognize that isolation is not the fault of the person being isolated but of the community that is excluding them.