Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It Matters Who You Are

It doesn’t matter who you were.  It matters who you are.
Likewise, it doesn’t matter what you did.  It matters what you’re doing.
And it doesn’t matter where you’ve been.  It matters where you’re going.

Some people are crippled by their past, the mistakes they made, and the failures they’ve been unable to come to grips with.  It leaves them frozen in place, restricted in their development as people.  Others live the same dynamic, but because of past success, a success that causes them to feel as if they’ve arrived, as if they’ve reached the top of the mountain.  They become as paralyzed, and as stunted in their growth, as those whose failure has caused their own inhibition.

Each day can be an opportunity to move away from the paralysis, to inch forward, if even with unremarkable effect.  Effort is something each one of us can engage in, and experience as progress, no matter the degree; like the sensation one might have when trying to walk across the room after one’s legs have gone to sleep from lack of circulation.  It’s not easy, but the effort alone will help to bring the legs back to life.  Effort cannot disguise itself as apathy.  It is the antithesis of that.  One can feel honest effort within one’s self.  And one can take heart in knowing that movement comes with that effort, whether the movement is easily measured or not.  Results are sometimes very difficult to see, but can often be illuminated by looking back, by observing the tracks connecting where we are with where we’ve been, not unlike the trail a snail leaves on the ground behind its own advancement.  And, lets face it, sometimes our personal movement, our progress if you will, is little more than a snails pace; but at least it’s movement.
And that’s what counts.  

It doesn’t matter who you were.  It matters who you are.
Likewise, it doesn’t matter what you did.  It matters what you’re doing.
And it doesn’t matter where you’ve been.  It matters where you’re going.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


You didn’t used to have to have a password to conduct your daily life.  I remember you had to have a combination for the lock on your gym locker for P.E., and for the lock on your bicycle if you didn’t want it to get stolen.  You also had to have a key for the front door of your house.  Oh, and when you got older you needed a key for the car, but as well as starting your car, it also unlocked the car door.  But that was about it.  Life was as simple as that.  You didn’t need to protect your bank account, your social networking sites, your credit card information or your identity.

But it’s not like that anymore.  It hasn’t been that way for a long time.  Now you have to have a password for anything you try and do; and let’s face it, a good percentage of our lives are conducted online, on a laptop or on a smartphone.  But just because the phone is smarter than we are doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s really all that smart.  After all, some of us are not so smart.  If we were we’d probably not be conducting our lives on a smartphone, an ipad, or a laptop where the government can monitor our affairs so easily.  We’d probably be out there doing our business in person, actually interacting with other people and places where we don’t need a password, just a drivers license so somebody can look at our picture.  It does, however, occur to me that a smartphone is smart enough to ask us for a password, and that’s where I begin to feel inferior, and discouraged.  I can never seem to remember mine, any of my passwords really, and sometimes I wish the damn phone, or the website, or whatever, would just forget to ask me. 

Now I’m not trying to disparage anybody, or the way of life that has evolved so conspicuously around us, but I can’t help being dispirited by all the security it requires of us to get through a typical day these days.  I mean I need a password to log into my email account just to see if somebody has something nasty to say about something I’ve written. 

I don’t need a password to open my mailbox at the foot of my driveway.
And I like that better.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


OK, enough time has gone by since the latest school shooting (Sandy Hook) for all of us to get a little perspective on the larger issue.  Not the families of the victims, of course, or the others who were personally involved, but the rest of us.  Unfortunately, that has not happened, and most likely it won’t.  These incidents are so grief and anger laden that it is very difficult to step outside that realm to allow deductive reasoning to rule over the raw emotion that envelops us like a fog.  I do not blame anybody for letting emotion have its way after such a horrific incident, and especially when it involves children.  They were not my children, but they are in the greater sense that if we are all Gods children, then the elders among us are all Gods children’s parents.  I grieve for those children, but I grieve for the shooter as well.  He was also somebody’s child.
Where did we fail, both the victims and the shooter?

Blame the guns if you must, but in doing so you would have to exclude the signs and root causes that most, if not all, of these incidents have in common.  The incidents, historically, have been perpetrated primarily by young men who have been marginalized, in some way or another, by a culture, and greater society, that does not value them as it does the social achiever, the athlete, the handsome, and the well-connected.  Most are isolated loners who have been driven into private worlds by bullying and its accompanying social ostracization, or by the invisibility that accompanies their own social inhibition.  Many parents fall short in their ability to meet the needs of the child, and many doctors fail the patient in their quick-fix practice of prescribing psychotropic medications to mollify the concern and mask the symptoms of a greater psychiatric challenge.  Shame on them.

Blame the guns if you must, but we live in a culture where we begin medicating our children as soon as they enter school, leaving them unattended in Grammar school, and left completely to their own devices in Jr. High, and High School.  We feed them movies and video games to keep them entertained and occupied so that we do not have to expend our precious energy actually parenting them.  Of course, as they grow older, and even more isolated, they naturally gravitate to more violent movies and interactive video games; ‘games’ that enable the powerless to experience a sense of power, as anti-social, and de-humanizing as that power might actually be.

Do you see the politicians stumbling over each other to keep the kids off of these medications, and to get standards of decency enacted with the movie and video game industries?  I think not.  The gun lobbies, as powerful as they are, are somewhat held at bay by the ideological division within the government; but the pharmaceutical lobbies, to this day, run unchecked in the halls of congress like a bitter wind fueling a high-desert wildfire.  The politicians owe the pharmaceutical companies their own re-elections, and are not about to work against their own political interests and ambitions. 
And we all know about the governments relationship to Hollywood.
Pathetic, at best.   

Blame the guns if you must, but there is an even more glaring, and egregious, connection to these horrific incidents than even the social isolation, the medications, and the violent video game indulgences.  The primary motivator, I believe, is actually the acute realization that a maladjusted social outcast comes to have; the understanding that it is no longer necessary for him to remain invisible in his own powerless little world.  The media’s spotlight on the many previous incidents has thoroughly enabled that understanding for him.  The exploitation of the events and the people involved, for purposes both financial and political, serve very well to create, and perpetuate, the very incidents they so righteously purport to be outraged by.

The shooter is identified, his picture sent around the world to find its way onto the front pages of every newspaper and media website imaginable.  His face, and history are broadcast over every television station in the country, and much of the world.  The shooter, even though he’d taken his own life, is no longer invisible, but now has an international obituary, and a life examined by all.  He has finally achieved his goal of visibility in the world.  He knew before hand that it would happen.  

I can assure you that if the media would agree to no longer publish the name, picture, history, or motivation of a shooter, there would be few to none of these incidents to have to report on in the future.  There would no longer be any payoff for the perpetrator.  These young men do not want to kill children.  If they knew their own invisibility would just continue, they would find a more acceptable way to gain the attention they so desperately need. 
But that’s not going to happen with how things are today. 
Of that you can be assured.

The demonization of guns is the political objective, and media-ratings is the financial one, for the predictable exploitation of these horrendous incidents; not to mention the exposure and notoriety that the individual reporters and so-called ‘journalists’ are sure to receive for their self-serving efforts. 

You can blame the guns if you must, but you will help facilitate the guns being taken out of the hands of stable and responsible Americans, people who won’t be there to protect you when you’re being threatened by the criminal element, or the deranged.  When the good guys don’t have guns, only the government and the bad guys will have them.  How would you feel about that?
Take the politically correct, programmed ideology, out of the equation, and how would you honestly feel about that?

Yes, blame the guns if you must, but I wish I could have been at Sandy Hook to save the children with a concealed weapon of my own.  And more likely than not, you’ve wished the same thing about yourself, or somebody else. 

Before that, however, I wish I could have been there in the shooters life to help save that troubled young man from himself.

That is where it needs to begin.