Wednesday, January 9, 2013

And I again ask, rhetorically, what is wrong with people.

While on Facebook this morning, I noticed that WTAE-TV Pittsburgh posted a video reporting about a massive brawl that occurred among local high school students and some parents/adults near a school bus stop after school yesterday. At one point there were as many as five different fights going on. Naturally, someone took the video and posted it to You Tube, because that seems to be a requirement anymore anytime something violent happens. Apparently, there were two different videos posted; a brawl actually happened two days in a row. WTAE posted a few snippets of the fights, blurring out the people since some are minors.

If you want to view the video, you can find it on the station's website or Facebook page. I am guessing the complete videos, with full-on fighting are still on You Tube. I, however, have little interest in watching the savagery of people anymore than what I already witnessed. And, quite frankly, it is stretch for me to call these fighters "people."

As I have made abundantly clear on this blog, I am a peaceful, turn-the-other cheek kind of person. I abhor violence (although for some inexplicable reason I loved the show 24). I hate wars and have had trouble justifying any of them. I respect the Second Amendment at face value, but I don't like guns and have no plans to either own or shoot one (not including the time I shot a rifle at a summer camp when I was 10). And when I hear parents say that they have told their kids to fight back when someone first bullies them, I cringe (though I do understand the sentiment behind that).

Violence rarely solves anything. It often makes matters worse, can lead to serious injury and even death, and can result in a criminal record. Violence often inflicts emotional and mental trauma on those involved as well. When I was in my early 20s, I volunteered at a domestic violence shelter/rape crisis center. I saw firsthand the effects of violence on women and their children. And studies have shown that people who have been victims of and/or witnesses to violence are more likely to commit violent acts themselves.

I, not surprisingly, have no answers for this big problem (just one of many in our screwed-up world). I can't help wondering what the home lives are like for many of these fighters, though I bet I can guess with pretty good accuracy. I also imagine that at least a few of these individuals will go on to commit various crimes (if they have not already). And I bet there is even a future murderer in the bunch!

I can continue to be sickened about the whole thing, but I can also do my best to do what I say I want to do, which is be kind to others and demonstrate some empathy when I can. Does it hurt to just say hi to or smile at a stranger or someone you don't know that well? Is it that hard to help out someone in some small way? Is it too much to demonstrate that you care or express some sympathy? For all I know, I might be breaking into the hardened shells of some of the kids at school when I spend a few moments talking to them at lunch or I might be making a small impact on some of the kids at the after-school program I volunteer for when I ask them about their day. I can hope.

Hubby tells me often that I cannot save the world and that I can't really make a difference. But I am convinced that the little things we do can collectively make a positive change, probably more than we will ever know.

5 comments:

Cassie said...

My husband says the same thing to me, but I tell him that I do my damndest to at least try to make the world better. I do this by teaching my kids, doing things myself and even asking for others' help.

Sometimes, when I get so overwhelmed by the sadness in the world, I try to do something simple. For me, it's donating blood regularly (when not pregnant,) donate to causes every year, try to host spin-a-thons for a cause, and volunteer my time. It's not much, but it's a heck of a lot more than most, I'm sure.

When I was a kid, my mom used to volunteer for SAFE (stop abuse for everyone) a non-profit in Clarion. I saw, as a kid, how it can affect someone's life for the long term and how it's just simply not fair. I made it a vow to never be that person who abuses or neglects and do my best to teach my kids to do the same. I also vowed to never allow myself to be in that situation, and if I see something going on with someone else, to speak up. I was amazed at how much bullying/abuse can stop if someone just speaks up.

I vowed to never be silent.

Jessica R. said...

I am such a pacifist and the peace keeper in my family. I'm sensitive to violence on the news, and I rarely watch it. It's too easy for me to internalize that stuff.

But I agree, I always remember when someone goes out of their way to be kind to me, and I think passing that little bit of kindness on goes a long way.

Facie said...

Cassie and Jessica: Thanks for you comments. It is nice to know I am not alone.

Cassie: I would say you definitely do a lot more than most. It has to make a difference. Jessica: I need to watch all that crap less. I sometimes think how much better off I could be if I knew less.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, your husband is right, you can't save the world. You probably can't even save a kid or two unless you spend a lot o' time with them. BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, collectively many people can make some difference. Hopefully there are many people out there like you and Cassie and Jessica. Unfortunately probably not much can be done for those kids and adults in the videos. They are probably too far gone.

Facie said...

Anonymous: Yeah, when I started to write the post, I was planning to be more focused on the acts and the people and how people like that probably won't change. But then the post took a more hopeful tone. And hope and optimism is what I am trying to be more focused on this year. We'll see how that goes.