Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Shaking the Tree of Joshua....


What would a weekend be in these United States without a heretofore unknown person becoming a "somebody" by walking into a public place - such as a school, a movie theatre or a shopping mall - and murdering one or more persons?  It happened again, of course, this past weekend in Maryland.  This time around - proving malevolence favors no one race over another - the killer was African-American.  His victims happened to be white.  One, Tyler Johnson, was a twenty-five-year-old man.  Brianna Benlolo, the second victim, was a twenty-one-year-old single mother.  On Sunday, as the killer's mother attempted to come to grips with the unfathomable act perpetrated by her son , expressing far more remorse for his actions than he probably did before he killed himself, news reports were filled with stories of the nineteen-year-old killer having seemed down and a bit depressed over the course of the past few months.  Approximately six months after he graduated from high school he was dead.  Furthermore, two others were dead at his hand.  

The most appalling part of all of this - at least to Yours truly - is that it is more likely than not that by the time we learn more information about the two young murder victims and the teenager who ended their lives, the shooting in Maryland will not be the latest such event.  Are we the people powerless to put an end to these occurrences, which pop up with the frequency of flash mobs?  Or have we simply blinded ourselves to the solution? 

It occurs to me that maybe, just maybe, old Professor Einstein was on to something.  That fella was known for his big brain after all.  Maybe the old saw about the world becoming connected through technology is nothing more than jive.  Maybe instead of connecting all of us, having a world of news, information, entertainment and content of all shapes and sizes available exclusively to us on our phones, our laptops and our tablets has had just the opposite - albeit unintended - effect.  Perhaps it has disconnected us.  Being permitted to look inward has enabled each of us to become a little less reliant on others of the species for benign, little things such as proper social interaction.  Why have a face-to-face conversation with another person when an e-mail, a text or a Tweet will do? 

And why bother to learn to process the types of things that befall most - if not all - of us by a certain age, such as getting our hearts broken or being mad or being upset about some such thing that at the moment it happens to us appears to be a life-ending, trajectory-altering event and which maybe, just maybe, by talking to someone about it we might come to understand that it is not in fact the end of the world?  Why bother indeed when in the flick of a switch I can power up, turn on and tune out.  

Mankind has put every machine it has ever created into use somewhere and somehow.  Yes, even the garbage that one sees advertised on late-night television.  But not every machine ends up being used in the manner in which its inventor intended.  Its use should depend upon us - the human.  It should never be the other way around. 

As we detach ourselves from one another, it has become easy for an ever-increasing number of us to no longer view those around us as necessary or as equals.  As human for that matter.  It has become too easy for too many to view the world at large as being populated by a cast of expendables - interchangeable, faceless cogs who exist not with us but for us.  

The game we play is a dangerous one.  We the people can figure out a way to survive -and in some cases to thrive - unless and until we lose our humanity altogether.  If and when that disappears, then we are indeed lost. 

Or to put it another way, less eloquent perhaps but more attuned to the day and age in which we live....



-AK 



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