Saturday, July 02, 2016

The Darkness Lurking Beyond The Shadows

Place: fourth place in Creative Writing

By Miriam B. Medina

I am a survivor of domestic violence, so I recognize it when I see it. Sadly, society itself is beginning to resemble a survivor of domestic violence. The signs are telling. The bruised psyche, the cranky attitude, the fear of doing the simplest of things. Let’s take my beloved United States for example. We, the citizens that comprise this great country, are afraid to say Boo to anyone in public anymore, for fear of sending them into a rage. Like a battered spouse, we fear agitating others because we fear retaliation. Like an abused family member, one who becomes terrified that their own daily routine might fetch them a berating or worse, we have a healthy fear of doing the most routine things. We fear getting on a plane or going to a government building. We stress over our children as they go to school.

We even fear going to the movies now.

Be it Klebold and Harris at a school in Columbine, Anders Brevik killing 77 people in Norway, or James Holmes, “The Joker”, shooting dozens at a Batman premier in Aurora, we are shocked by the news, accept it, then shuffle on down the street towards the rest of our lives. Like the family of most domestic survivors, we are frightened, ashamed and saddened by these actions, but do nothing to address the real problem.

Now, calm down gun activist. I am not blaming guns. There are plenty of other violent incidents that happen each day that do not involve guns. None of the 9/11 terrorists carried a gun, and they killed thousands of people. No, anti-gun lobbyist, I’m not advocating guns, so don’t plan a sit-in in my living room. Guns are not the real problem. Guns are ancillary to the real problem perhaps. They might assist those with issues in their violent acts, to spread the pain, but they’re not the root cause, and that is what we must address.

Instead, we seek to blame. The man beats his wife because of job stress. The mother beats the child because she watches Jerry Springer. Whatever. Blaming guns for the darkness that lurks just beyond the shadows of society is simply a way of ignoring the real problem instead of shining the light on the festering sore that none of us want to acknowledge. Truth be told, we ignore this problem at all costs. Politicians ignore it, even in election season. When was the last time you heard Obama or Romney say, I can’t wait to discuss the issue of violence at the next debate. They’ll discuss the economy, but things like the Batman shooting are pushed aside as quickly as possible. It’s bad for business.

We need to address how we fix this problem, one that now affects us all. Violence and abuse, at home and in society, are linked. How, you ask, when James Holmes was studying to be a physicist and Klebold and Harris were kids from suburban families? Because the root causes of violence and abuse at any level are the same.

The power of control motivates any abuser. The abuser needs to be in charge. The victim(s) becomes that person’s possession(s), to be done with as the abuser sees fit. When they snap, they see fit to do the absolute possible worst. We need mass therapy, a series of town halls, talks, to bring this issue into the open. We need to illuminate the darkness that lies beyond those dangerous shadows that terrify us all, and TALK about why people snap, how the warning signs can be identified, and what we can do to help society be more inclusive, less alienating. The people who need to wield power do so because they feel excluded and lost. They believe their only recourse is to harm those that they think excluded them. They are misguided and sick, but many of us all feel lost at times.

In this election season, we need our leaders to address this ever-growing problem, to bring light to the darkness, and for once, to encourage real, open debate amongst us all, instead of throwing sound bytes at us so that they can win one more term. Then we need to start actually listening to one another, stop closing our ears, and shuffling down the street through the rest of our lives. If we don’t, our lives might be much shorter than we expect, or affected by a violent act we might be able to prevent.

(c) Miriam B. Medina

Posted by 12mimi22 on 07/02 at 06:43 PM | Permalink
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