Obsessed with the negative
July 30, 2012
by Ivan Raconteur

When the news came out about the theater shootings in Colorado, the entire country became fixated on the events that took place in Aurora on that night.

As horrific as it was, we should not allow ourselves to remain fixated on that single event. It is important to pay attention to the shootings, and it is appropriate to consider how we might prevent such things in the future, but it does not make sense to look at only this isolated event and assume that the world is a terrible place.

The fact is, most things are not all good or all bad.

It appears that the tragedy in Colorado was perpetrated by one man. His actions do not define the city, nor do they define us as a nation.

Perhaps the actions of some of those involved that night, who sacrificed themselves to protect others, are a better gauge of the situation. Maybe the response of the community and the attempts to come together and deal with the situation and begin rebuilding lives is a better indication of who we are as a people.

There is a tendency, however, for us to become obsessed with single, one-dimensional events. Some of this is the fault of the media. Some of it is human nature. We should remember though, that if we focus only on one horrible event, we will miss a lot of good things that are happening all around us.

It works the other way around, too. If we have experienced only good fortune, and that is all we see, we may fail to notice that there are others in our communities who are hurting or who have not been so fortunate. We may miss the fact that others have different challenges to overcome than we have.

When the World Trade Center was attacked by fanatics, it was a tragedy of historic proportions.

Yet, even though those attacks were motivated by hate, the aftermath of those events was defined by love, heroism, and people helping people.

The final calls and messages sent by the victims were not messages of hate for their attackers. They were most often messages of love for the victims’ families and friends.

We learned something about the world that day, and we learned a lot about ourselves, as well.

There are those who will try to con us into seeing only the negative around us, and who will cultivate hate and divisiveness to further their own agendas.

We should reject this kind of one-dimensional obsession.

Tragedies like the shootings in Colorado and the attacks on the World Trade Center were motivated by people obsessed with a single vision.

The recovery from horrible events like those, however, is usually carried out by those who have a much broader view; people who seek understanding, and who recognize the value of working together and building things up rather than tearing things down.

These heroes are motivated by love, not hate, and theirs is the example we should follow.

We cannot bring back those who were killed, but we can honor their memory by trying to make the world a better place.

If our actions are motivated by hatred and revenge, we sink to the level of the very people who perpetrated these crimes, and the world becomes closer to their dark and twisted vision of reality.

There is no real satisfaction in revenge, but there is satisfaction in building something of lasting beauty out of the fragments of disaster.

We tend to lose some of our freedom in the wake of tragedy. There are those who use the fear and uncertainty created by these events to take away our liberty and replace it with restrictions in the guise of keeping us safe.

It seems that rather than treating law-abiding citizens like criminals, we would be better off looking for constructive ways to work together and build bridges, rather than widening the gaps that separate people.

Putting honest citizens behind bars – literally or figuratively – does not make them safer. It just makes them prisoners in their own country.

If we allow that to happen, the fanatics win, and the rest of us lose.

Forcing elderly people to remove their shoes and submit to searches at airports does not make me feel safer.

Being forced to go through metal detectors at schools, theaters, or government buildings does not increase my sense of security.

It seems that looking for the positive things around us and building on success stories would be a better way to go.

Punishing the masses for the acts of a few fanatics is expensive, inconvenient, and it doesn’t work.

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