There Was A Time………..
There was a time, in the not-so-recent past, when tragic events would occur: An attack on a Navy base. An assassination. A shooting from a tower. An airplane crash.
These events would arrive to us in various media. Newspapers. Radio. Television. Word of mouth.
And when they arrived we would think.
We would contemplate.
Our initial reactions would be immediate and emotional. We would seek understanding in our own thoughts. We would look for the elusive answers to the human actions that defied our own ideas of logic.
And we would hold them as our own.
Then, perhaps, we would discuss them with family members or close friends. Our own emotions and thoughts would mingle with those closest to us and we would form new opinions, new ways of viewing the tragedy. It would be slow. But it would provide a small semblance of solace.
As the days pass our anger and confusion would subside (or at least cool a bit, depending on how close we were to the event.)
We would get more information to add to the collection of thoughts and feelings and we could process a bit more; we could think a bit more clearly. Our understanding may not increase concerning the motives, but our minds would at least seek reasonable solutions.
As more opinions appear from various sources outside our circles, we would solidify our own reasoning and perhaps begin to debate how we may reach consensus on an answer to a tragic event.
Sometimes our answers were right, sometimes they were wrong.
But there was time. Time between tragedy and response.
There was a time………but that time is gone.
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Now we read of tragedy as it happens.
Incomplete information flies at us from all directions.
Our personal opinions are formed before facts are known.
And we share them, those opinions. We share them immediately.
We don’t seek solace or comfort or even simple discussion to quietly sort out our feelings with those close to us. We don’t look for all the information.
All we do is react.
And our reaction creates more reaction.
The time for time between tragedy and response is past.
We no longer take the time to hold our thoughts and feelings. And think.
We live by emotions. Immediate, unresolved emotions.
We state half-baked thoughts; create half-baked answers. Our list of reasons for a tragedy is abbreviated. We rely on them the way you would rely on an old shopping list. The same items are used. Over and over. Nothing new is added because we never took the time. We draw on the same knee jerk reactions.
And as we blast our immediate, emotional reaction to hundreds (or thousands) of people that we have never met, nor seen, nor ever had one serious discussion — face-to-face — with, we are met, in kind, with immediate, emotional reaction.
There is no common ground. I work from my list and you work from yours and never the twain shall meet.
Reaction to reaction to reaction.
We no longer hold our thoughts to ourselves.
We don’t seek the guidance of family or friends to help us clarify our thoughts and feelings. We no longer ruminate over a tragedy.
No kitchen table to sit around.
No corner booth at the local bar.
No grassy knoll to sit on.
Nowhere to look into someone’s eyes and express your feelings as they express theirs, as everyone seeks comfort.
We only express.
And our expressions, now, equal ourselves. Unbending, reactive, impulsive.
And the circle continues. Reaction on reaction, rebuttal on rebuttal, outrage on outrage.
There was a time…………..