*In this writer's nine years posting articles for Newsvine, today is the most difficult article to write. Like you, I was devastated by what happened in Dallas. I went through the usual gamut of emotions. Shock, anger, sadness, and then back to anger. Why, I ask - WHY do more and more of our citizens turn to a gun and bloody violence as some form of protest? That is not protest, but murder pure and simple. Another group of American families are devastated. Another group with funerals to arrange. Another group who will have to sit through jury trials and constant media attention in the wake of their own family tragedies. We ask police to protect us, yet some people decide to murder them as a form of protest, even when these officers had nothing to do with possible illegal shootings of other citizens? It's immoral, and it's wrong.
Americans search for answers, and continue to be humiliated worldwide when these shootings occur. In other words, it's tough right now to be 'Proud to be an American' when we do these things to our fellow citizens. It makes America look bad on a global scale. We HAVE no answers because the height of the problem has not yet been reached. Both random and planned mass shootings continue to dominate the news, and at an accelerated pace. There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel that will restore sensibility to America. Hatred has again reared its ugly head in this country, perhaps even worse than when we struggled with the Civil Rights question back in the 60's, or during the protests against the Vietnam War.
Maybe the bigger picture is the nature of humanity itself. Violence against each other, without regard to the consequences, has been a large and tragic part of our history. And lately it has become worse. I am reminded of a quote from the film, Contact:
'You're an interesting species; an interesting mix. Capable of such exquisite dreams; such horrifying nightmares...'
We pat ourselves on the back as Americans for our accomplishments in technology, space, human rights, our response to global problems such as famine and oppression, and believe we are the best that ever was on Planet Earth.
Right now, that assumption is in doubt, and our image seriously damaged. Doing these things to each other also provides fodder for our critics, and joy to our enemies. The amount of hatred going around in America has reached an all-time high, and either it must stop, or the ideal of America itself will disintegrate to a shadow of what it used to be, or even worse, end completely.
Not all hope is lost, however.
My personal belief is that the vast majority of Americans abhor the increasing violence across this country, and simply want a 'normal' life with an opportunity to provide sufficiently for their families. At least I hope so. If not, we are certainly doomed the way things are going now. It is time for Americans to stand up and give a voice against senseless shootings and hatred. Or, as Peter Finch once said in the film Network:
'All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!'
Hatred and finger-pointing and violence to solve our domestic problems must END. We need leaders from top to bottom who will help show the way. Who those people are is for you to decide.
Maybe one of them IS you.
(*NOTE: Robert Blevins has published nearly 500 illustrated articles for Newsvine since March 2007. But due to a Newsvine glitch, most were accidentally removed to 'Unpublished' status, although none were actually deleted. He has been restoring them a few at a time ever since. He is the managing editor for Adventure Books of Seattle.)