as much as i'd like to live in an episode of mad men, every now and then i'm forced to take a look at the world around me and do a little reality check. it's not pretty, and that's why i try to keep my blinders firmly in place and stay home most of the time, where i know i'm safe and sound. unfortunately, my house has cable tv and cable tv and i have a love/hate relationship. on one hand there's gossip girl, real housewives, and mad men.. on the other hand, there's cnn and msnbc. this weekend, the latter brought me the news of some asshole named jared who decided to shoot almost 20 people in arizona, killing six of them and injuring the rest, one of which was a US congresswoman-- the congresswoman was his target and the other victims were in the wrong place at the wrong time, including several elderly and one nine-year-old child. this isn't news to most of you- if you have a tv or radio, you've probably heard the story countless times. for those of you currently living under a rock: jared managed to shoot the congresswoman, gabrielle giffords, point-blank in the head, sending a bullet straight through her brain.
i can't tell you why this kid, 22 years old, decided to exact such violence on an innocent group of people. i can assume that it was retaliation for giffords' political views, that he was angry about her support of the health care bill, or how she wore her hair, or that giffords was "stupid and unintelligent" as he had previously told his classmates.
why he did what he did is irrelevant to me. the thing that scares the hell out of me is that there are likely 574857023482304924085 more idiots just like him walking the streets of my city, your city, everytown, USA. the lady across the street could be pissed that my dogs bark at her dog every day when we pass each other on the street, the pizza guy could be upset that i tipped him less than he deserved, one of my students may feel like she deserved a B instead of the C i gave her at the end of the quarter, and what about that guy i cut off when i was changing lanes yesterday? he certainly looked like he wanted to kill me when he eventually managed to catch up with me on the highway.
i could drive myself crazy with all the possibilities and what-ifs. the problem is, the possibilities are more frequently becoming realities. i don't want to find myself on the losing end of someone's irrational anger, or inadvertently be somewhere i shouldn't be when a crazy person loses their marbles.
take a good long look at that picture up there. that guy looks like a raving lunatic... but what about the ones that don't? what about the ones that call themselves christians but when you pull back the layers, you see this?
i'm saying all of this to say... i'm kind of afraid. i'm afraid for people like the congresswoman who stood up for what she believed in and is now fighting for her life. and i'm afraid that acts like this one are getting more frequent. people are becoming more extreme. no more talking things through, no more debates, just fear, and hatred, revenge, and murder.
personally, i'd love to be a warrior for what is right.. but not if it means taking a bullet through the brain by a kid who wants to make the evening news. give me liberty or give me death? the words sound good. but i can only imagine that patrick henry wasn't envisioning assassinations, killing sprees, mass suicides, and other insane and senseless crime when he envisioned the america that he was fighting for.
i don't know...
i just. don't. know.