Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

find a rainbow moment

How do we keep a positive attitude in a time when so much seems to be going wrong? I wish I had better answers to that question, but I think it's one we all need to think about. If we become buried in despondency, we can't help ourselves-- let alone anyone else. If we are looking for some super hero to fix the whole thing, likely we will be angry or disappointed. Those only exist in movies, books and comics.

Some say the answer is love. Love everyone, and it will all be better soon. Nothing wrong with love, but it's a word. Sometimes it's easier to say we love the universe, glowing with good will, than to love the one who just cut in front of us in traffic or passed right into us on a narrow road forcing us to brake and move onto the shoulder as far as we can to avoid a head-on collision. How about the person who just insulted us and walked off? The ones who didn't meet our expectations?

Is love really the solution for those who have already been loaded up to believe it's all about them? Or are surrounded by people who put them at the center of their universe? Those who have filled them with expectations that the world owes them whatever they want? You know when I was a child, which was long, long ago, children never for a moment thought they were the center of the family. That was the era of parents being the controllers and in charge.

Is love the solution when a child is depressed, can't seem to get it together, and he's given a prescription that will magically solve problems-- or at least makes it quieter for the parent?

Not to say that medications are bad. I took Prozac some years back. I didn't feel like killing myself nor anyone else. But whatever pill there is out there, there will be side effects and sometimes that can be rage or increasing despondency. I am not suggesting prescribed drugs lead to mass killings. Shouldn't we though be looking at the issue very seriously?

You know the media is always onto the next story. They don't generally finish anything. They stir up rage, pathos or joy and on they go to the next hot story. They don't find solutions. They find problems. 

Americans encourage this with their tendency toward attention deficit, and a constant need for excitement to be entertained or stirred in some way.

Clearly with all these violent situations, the first line of defense for a society is not more guns in the hands of ordinary people. It's the family. That the family will recognize a problem and work to solve it or get outside help. But what if the family is either dysfunctional or helpless and unable to figure out what to do? What if they are so wrapped up in other problems that they aren't paying enough attention? Pretty much every shooter out there has fit into one of those family situations.

I know how many want to think the answer is stopping gun sales and collecting all the ones out there. It won't happen. And because it is the clarion call, other more reasonable steps aren't happening either because of the profit motive but also fear that their guns will be taken if anything at all is done.

I don't think the problem is all centered in our entertainment. How do we explain the worldwide spate of violence? All the fault of the US? Some would love to blame us for sure.

So in the midst of this kind of chaos-- and it is happening around the world, the right wing is screaming that they won the battle of Iraq (yes, it's really what they want to claim), and Obama has lost it. Even after all the billions of dollars poured into there, unless the US wanted to have ongoing war forever, with a steady loss of life, it was inevitable that this would eventually happen. That's the truth that we all knew who paid any attention anyway. Once Bush interfered in a stable, sovereign nation,  cruel though it might have been, we either stayed forever with our men being killed, or we had to get out and take the blame for what was to come. The claim of McCain and Graham is we needed to fight forever there. 

Yes, everybody labels McCain a hero, but his main claim to fame in his own war was crashing his planes and finally ending up a POW who refused to be released until the others with him were also. That's not a war hero. That's stubbornness and maybe courage but it's not about being able to fight a war. He didn't. And Graham never left the US during his time in the military; so what they both know about war is reading about it and pushing it onto other people which is what some would have us doing now with Iraq. War forever and ever-- amen.

Some of what the US is seeing in terms of violence is around the world. Think of the girls in India being kidnapped, raped and then hung from trees, the Pakistani women stoned to death often by their own families, the Sudanese government still threatening to hang a woman for renouncing the Muslim faith when she married a Christian except she never was a Muslim but her father was and that made her one.

I tell you if you pay any attention to worldwide news, we are in a very very violent time. What can we do about it? Not a lot. We can get better gun regs but they likely wouldn't stop a lot of what we are seeing. The latest kid got hold of guns his family owned. We can be careful where our kids are. Force our schools to get better doors and metal detectors with someone there to watch what and who come through the door. Most important, we can make better mental health programs available to schools and parents for the situations where the problems are way behind the reach of the parents. And be damned sure that any meds that are given to troubled kids don't make the situation worse.

Otherwise, try to be happy. Smell the roses. Enjoy the coffee or tea. Savor every small moment. Say I love you frequently. Be as healthy and happy as possible because it all starts with us. Sit in the dirt or on the grass, let the energy of nature enter up into you. Sniff the air. Tiny moments where we have joy-- out from that a positive energy flows. 

Also I might recommend finding creative pursuits. They don't have to be big ones but doing things that make you feel good for the doing and the finishing. I think being creative is very good for the spirit.

Rainbow photo is not one of ours but one I bought through CanStock. I have a lot of fun finding photos that sometimes I can use in book trailers or covers but also in the blogs :)


Tabor said...

Acceptance or avoidance and if those do not work then self-defence whether it come via pill or calling the law.

Celia said...

The positive attitude is hard to keep. Sometimes I go on a news fast just to clear my mind.

We've had a plague of shootings here in WW, five of them in 10 days, fights, drive-bys, apparently gang related.

We have a huge unemployment problem here. Even if the economy is recovering somewhere it ain't here. I don't know what to think. I don't get this child centered culture either and I think it does raise up kids with a warped sense of entitlement.

I think until education and jobs become our main agendas, we will stay in hot water.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Here is my two cents worth of observations and conclusions. There are fewer reporters and journalists with a greater dependency on the public. Many of us go about with telephone video cameras. So everyday civilians send in what they think is news worthy to the news agencies. Resulting in a lop sided bias. We tend to recognize and focus on the spectacular and negative. So these incidents get into the news where as in the 1950's when there was a knifing at my middle school, it never made it into the local news let alone national. Also there was more investigative reporting then scouting out possitive heart warming stories such as my mother who made hand made fashion dolls.

Rain Trueax said...

Diane, there are more such killings today than back then. If the knifing in your school was one kid mad at another, that's not the same story as one kid who kills more than 20 small children or another goes into a movie theater and shoots as many as he can or to a political event where he knows nobody. It might make you feel better to think this sort of thing always happened but it did not.

Of the 74 incidents of shootings in schools since Sandy Hook, not even two years, only 15 were like Reynolds. The rest didn't get a lot of coverage either as they were gang related or someone mad at someone.

What we are seeing today is unique and it might be the fault of the media in one sense-- publicity and copy cat crimes. Or are these kids raised to see life is cheap? Whatever the case, people just didn't do this until the Vietnam War era. Remember the guy shooting from a campus in Texas sniping anybody who was nearby? Or the first McDonalds shooter who went into one of the restaurants in CA and started shooting. That's what we didn't have growing up and our parents never had either. These shootings make zero sense to anybody who is sane anyway.

The latest shooter evidently wanted to kill sinners-- he ended up shooting what sounds like a good kid that he didn't even know. That's not the same as a knife in a fight! Not even close.

Rain Trueax said...

So you would like to have stories about doll makers and not the shootings so you can feel better about your safety? Maybe don't tell people about the big immigration problem that suddenly blew up again. Keep people smug and satisfied until their own life is impacted? Those stories are still out there though-- but morning news programs that last a couple of hours or OPB.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

As a matter of fact in 1956 the Berkeley, California Portola Junior High School was somewhat progressive because the students were intergrated with a mix of color and 1/3 negro (at that time the polite name for African Americans). There were knife carrying gangs back then. The knifing was a racial confrontation. In 1957 when in the South desegergation was happening Berkeley went back to segregation. In 1958, my class was placed in ElCereto High School that previously was a all white three year school.
Yes there is a difference more military weapons in the hands of immature kids.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Please let me clarify. I am for a balance of reporting. I want to hear a balance of the bad and ugly as well as the peaceful and heart warming stories.
I am just saying it is unhealthy to depend on your own searching the web for the spectacles that horrify. Perhaps there is less possitive news out there because of the change in news gathering.
"Card Stacking all the negatives" leads to a warped view, stress and bad decisions and wrong action. Embrace balance!

Rain Trueax said...

Except in this case, it's not necessary to search for bad stories. These are front page news when a mass shooter does something like Sandy Hook. The stories don't last more than a few days, but it's not hidden. I also read the blog of the woman who was shot and nearly killed in the Tucson shooting, and know that over two years later, she still suffers from it.

And what I said about gang violence is what you just described. it's not the same thing as what just happened in Reynolds. And those stories still do not get covered. With 74 gun incidents in the schools, how many did you read about? I know I didn't know there had been 74 incidents, and i read most of the major newspapers around the country and a few from the world.

Rain Trueax said...

I refuse to think that we should accept these shootings as part of balanced view of life. You go ahead, but I can't. I can too easily put myself in the position of the grandparents of the most recent victim. I think they call that empathy.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Rain, We are talking about two different things. Of course the shootings we are now aware of are not a part of a balanced world. I am talking about the news media, it's information gathering and how the public acquires the news and processes it.

Rain Trueax said...

okay I understand you better but the news media is about what is happening that concerns Americans or it should be. The feel good news stuff can be found on shows like Today or Good Morning America as morning shows. Watch some of the daytime stuff like the View. The main news has to be what is of concern. Right now that would be Iraq. Most Americans don't care about Darfur, but they should. And the immigration problems really need more information not less.

I don't think the way a lot of people feel right now about the violence in the world is something the media caused. It's a product of what is going on. We should be concerned. We should be informed and we better vote for leaders who will do the kinds of things we most want done or somebody else will be controlling our world.

The recent shooting in Oregon didn't center on the shooter but on the boy who was killed and the kind of person he was. A lot of writers of blogs refuse to use the names of the shooters to cut back on the 'fame for a day' phenomena. I know I don't ever name them. But what they have done, that is of real concern to me because the next innocent person standing in front of such a shooter might be someone I love or me.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

One thing I am getting at is making wrongjudgements and glittering generalizations from the way the news is ecumilated and distributed. Is the conclusion truely varifyable that we are in a far worse period for violence than the world has ever seen? We have a larger population and do the percentages really bear that conclusion. Or is it a matter that we hear of so many reports with frequency that we are apt to come to that conclusion without true examination of violence now as compared to 1860's for example.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Now some incidents of violence impact more people because of weapons with the capbaility of harming more and with greater speed. But are the number of violent incidents more?

Rain Trueax said...

I don't think anybody who knows history would say such a thing. The plagues, massive wars across Europe, etc. etc. What people are saying is it's the worst they have seen in their lifetime and in my case that's a lot of years.

And if you were living in Africa and forced into a camp like Darfur where you got 900 calories of basically gruel a day to live on or were in Iraq right now with what's going on there with the massive killings or what has gone on really since we took out Hussein or in Pakistan where if your daughter or granddaughter fell in love with the wrong man, they might be stoned to death, you might well think it was the worse ever. For that person, it is.

The news is not claiming it's the worse ever. And I didn't either. What I am saying is for children to have to have shooting drills not because an enemy might strike as we had with the nuke drills as kids but because someone they went to school with might show up and try to kill a bunch of them. If that isn't bad, I don't know what is. Shouldn't we look for why?

I think the only ones who think it's not bad right now are not looking at what is going on. And if someone has a health problem that is made worse by such knowledge, then I am all for them not being informed. But for those of us who can do it, I think we better be informed. Of course, health has to come first. But ignorance as a choice for any other reason is inexcusable, I think.

and that includes my blog. if it's troubling to read about what's going on in the world, it might be this is not a good place to read. I will be looking at it as I said I would when it's a cultural issue.

Ashleigh Burroughs said...

No one was shooting up elementary schools or political gatherings when I was 9 years old in the 1950's. Churches were bombed and little girls died and the nation was outraged... and is still outraged.

Now, with the proliferation of these events, those in the past (like Tucson) don't even make the list when reporters are seeking context.

Better reporting, fewer loopholes, less posturing (open carry demonstrations at Target... REALLY!?!? ... you need an assault weapon to buy toilet paper?), greater attention to family, freer access to better mental health care......... but most of all, we need to pay attention.