Just Wow, This Morning
There’s always a lesson inside the madness. Whether or not the two Bonnie/Clyde killers in San Bernardino (the 355th US mass shooting/4 or more people shot or killed) acted inside of a Jihadi-terrorist mindset or not, there are lessons to be learned here. A good friend asked me this morning: “What do we do? Whats happening? Are they coming to Atlanta?”
And while there’s a paranoia in all of the reasoning and rationale, there is one strong beacon of reality that stands out for me: Where there are more people (no matter their intent or purpose) there are more problems.
There are 7.3 billion people on the planet. Of that number, we’re compartmentalized by geography, by religious fellowships & beliefs, and by group allegiances. Beyond that, there are families, political alliances and career affiliations and social interests. For the most part, that covers the large groups of us. My “grouping” and “chunking” people together, at least in this commentary, is my way of detailing humanity for a clear and concise perspective on my points. Here are my points:
1) RECOGNIZE THE RED FLAGS - In most every case where there is a mass-shooter, bomber or someone wanting to do harm to a number of people/all at once, the attacker is problematic. Its most likely a “he” who is angry at the world, the circumstances he works or lives in, and perhaps his own lack of resources or of progress.
There is that point of no return where one “gives up” and either surrenders to life by taking their own life, or gives up and decides to “go out with a bang,” taking their own lives and the lives of others. There’s also that peak of frustration; “the tipping point” if you will, which flips the switch for these folks.
The guy who shot the owner of the liquor store (and his customer) and then held his mother hostage… he hit his tipping point. The disgruntled teenager who felt he wasn’t loved from girls in his school; same guy who had it out for the jocks at the same school… he recorded youtube video and showed us all that he had hit his tipping point. South Carolina racial shooting in the church; hate-based, and the guy hit his tipping point. He was ready to throw it all away and surrendered to his own lack of love and love for humanity. The Planned Parenthood attack… Happyland social club fire that was set in NYC years back, the movie theater shooting the Boston boming, Sandy Hook… the perps are almost always on a mission, disgruntled, at there tipping point. Many or all of these folks have shown us “red flags.” Their families, friends, co-workers and others may have not recognized the indicators. But one thing is for sure, things could have been different had they identified the problem before it hit its boiling point. So, while this is not cut & dry, RECOGNIZE THE RED FLAGS, those actions and mannerisms of the people around you.
2) MORE PEOPLE, MORE PROBLEMS - Speaking of the “people around you” how well do you know them? Yes indeed, there is a thin line between you “investigating” someone and “stalking” them. There are rules as to what you can and can’t do/should or shouldn’t do where it relates to another person’s privacy. A person cannot simply be put under arrest or investigation (at least not legally) for their thoughts and beliefs. However, there are warning signs. Sure, the guy who talks to himself all day, cursing government and job and family may well have mental issues, but he can’t simply be arrested?
What a mess we have to deal with in this day and age. Everyone with financial hardship; lonely, rejected and shafted both in their social life and career path. Too many people not embracing the concepts of “live & let live” or “unconditional loving,” or the ideas of “not condemning, criticizing or complaining.”
Too many stresses and unbearable tensions in life that are pushing people over the edge; some that are good folk with potential to do and be better, others who are clearly unable to find that peace. But for sure, you can control the amount of randomness you’re exposed to by controlling the people you keep in your circle, the places you frequent and when, the exposure to large crowds. Not to say that you need to always walk on eggshells or that you shouldn’t go where large crowds are, just to say that you should always be vigilant, concerned and careful. And that leads to my next point…
3) AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION - Do you know the exits of the facility where you are a “part of a crowd?“ Do you know if everyone in the gym that you frequent? And if not, do see them interacting with others you might know in that same gym? Who are the “loners” in your midst? Who is connected and who is disconnected from society? Do you know all of the staff members at the school where you drop you child? What other parents have access to the school and0 on what level are they engaging with the students? What sorts of bags are you around? That gentleman that just left the fast food restaurant; is that his bag he left behind? And if you’re not keen enough to know someone’s erratic behavior, you always have the option of having casual conversation, but then you can always just rely on your ‘6th sense” or simply “have faith” that God is watching over you. Personally, I’d like more hard facts to go on than my 6th sense, or merely “following my heart.” But what I’m simply saying is to be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of the people in your surroundings. Thats the least you can do.
4) YOUR HEART & CONSCIENCE - I say “follow your 6th sense” but what I’m basically saying is to “go with your gut reaction.” You don’t have your own police force to watch over you so you need to police your own world. In this day you can’t assume you’re safe at all times; consider your workplace, consider your home, consider public spaces. But consider your “blind spots” amidst all of these spaces.
5) NONE OF THE ABOVE - None of the above trumps God’s grace and mercy over your life. Know that you are precious, that you are a survivor and that you are a born winner.
Take the risks you feel you can win at and even those where there is a question. Favor may just take you that extra mile; its what heros are made of. Heros sacrifice their lives to save the lives of others. God Bless our heros.
But also Godspeed to you if you ever get caught up in some nonsense such as a mass shooting. Yes, my title is striking to get you to read; obviously, many cannot avoid being victim to stuff like this; and God Bless those who unfortunately perished at the hands of mass murderers. However, there are a couple things I want to leave you with; First, what is happening now is a result of years and decades of digression in our lifestyles, our music, our entertainment, and how we’ve stretched our own imaginations into the world of the worst that can happen. Horror movies are number one instead of the teachers and counselors and mentors in our lives. Raunchy music is number one and supported with our dollars; but that attention is not given to good fathers, medical research and the uplifting of humanity. For so long we’ve been digressing, and as others have put it “We’re going to Hell.” “The world is coming to an end” so on and so forth. The quickest ways to reach these predictions are being prevented by law enforcement and the military. But who’s protecting our mental condition? Who’s safeguarding how you think and why? Who’s in charge of your mind? A rapper? A movie star? The only enforcer of you r mind is YOU.
What happened in San Bernardino can easily be your neighborhood in a couple of hours. And it will be your next door neighbor who brings the pain and conflict. I know this because it happened here in Rockdale County some months ago where a guy had reached his limit, took two lives, took his mother hostage and then police took him. But how else to avoid the madness except to control and bring ease to what we practice, what we inhale and absorb?
Family, we are 3 degrees from living or dying. Its easy to die, to take your life, to go off the deep end.
No matter how you face it, we are all tadpoles being eaten by spiders, or we’re those same spiders who are eaten by bigger fish. And then of course, the eagles come get the fish. Who are you? Are you the tadpole, the spider, the fish or the eagle?