(Yes, I am still #crowdfunding… Help this dragon out one more month?)
(FYI: This post may or may not read a bit disjointed… I’m also cooking and doing dishes, so this will be written in between stirrings of the rice, etc)
An article I read a short while ago (after returning from my haircut) reminded me of a subject I’ve written about before. Fear and the Mob Mentality.
No, I’m not talking about gangsters and the like. Mob as in a lynch mob. A group of people who might normally behave respectably (or not, depends on the individuals) in society, but when confronted with a specific “thing,” they gather together with like-minded folks and go after said “thing.”
In many cases, these mobs form out of Fear.
But where does this Fear come from?
It can come from many places. Social conditioning and lack of knowledge are two that I see the most often. There are other places it can emerge from. My own Fear for many years came from escaping an abusive relationship and the subsequent online stalking and harassment from said former “partner.” (I hesitate referring to him as a partner namely because he was an abusive control freak who used many psychological tricks to push me down into a submissive role… JUST because I’m female. Anyone who knows me well enough knows damn well I’m NOT that submissive).
But in the case of mobs, it is typically one, or both, of the two bolded sources above. Because of my own experiences of living in Fear, I have my own unique insight into this. Also, I grew up with a parental source of bigotry and such, so I observed it there as well.
What we don’t know or understand, we tend to fear. Fear then mutates into Hate. Thus, mob rule. A certain political candidate, whose name will not be mentioned in this post, has captured that Fear and Hate and is capitalizing on it all over the place. Build a border, deny certain people entry, deport those already here, etc, etc….
Here’s the thing: If the bigots in question (not just the one running for office, but his vile little minions as well) actually sat down and talked (calmly) with some of the very people they’re verbally bashing, and LISTENED to them about their lives, their faith, their passions for life. If these people actually read the book of their faith, or talked to one of their local leaders about it. Asked questions and listened to the answers. They may learn. They may Fear these people less. They may even stop hating so much.
Will this happen? Probably not. But see, I believe -as a Recovering Christian/Spiritual Humanist (ordained, so zip it), I believe that we are all here for a reason. We each have gifts to share with the world around us. Two gifts, really. One is unique to each and every one of us.
The other is one we share: to learn.
- Learn about the world around us.
- Absorb knowledge.
- Ask questions.
- Travel, if you can.
- Read books (if you can’t afford to buy them, there is this magical place called the Library).
- Listen to community elders.
- Appreciate nature.
- Respect one another, despite our differences.
- Learn. Just LEARN.
I sometimes -half jokingly- say that God (or deity of choice if you have one) not only has a warped sense of humor (aardvarks anyone?), but also is a scientist. A Research Scientist. Now, before you get your lacy little panties in a twist hear me out.
He sends us all down here, mixes us up, makes us all different. Different ways to believe, different skin/hair/eye colors, heights, weights, languages, religions, intelligence, disabilities, etc. You name it. We’re all unique. We all have some core similarities under all of those differences. I bleed the same color blood as all of you (even as a Dragon, shush).
The experiment is to see if we can make shit work. Seriously! Honestly, I think we’re failing horribly, but who knows… maybe we can get it all worked out somehow. Overcoming hate and violence is the hopeful goal of the experiment. It isn’t about how many people you convert to your circle. It’s about getting along and working side by side with others who are different. I could expand on that, but it’s getting late and the caffeine is wearing off. I hope you all get the basic idea. Communication, not bullets and hate. Not talking down to people, but treating all as equals. It makes a huge difference.
Can we make this experiment work? I hope so. It will take time, but He’s patient.
I just keep seeing news articles about white supremacists and those who sympathize with them being vocal about blacks, Muslims, refugees of all kinds, etc. Some are on the verge of violence toward them. Why? Why the anger and hate?
Our ancestors all came from “somewhere else” at some point in history. This country, the United States of America, was founded on freedom. We are, and always have been, a melting pot of cultures, religions, lifestyles… you name it. Not everyone came here willingly (slaves mostly), but we’re all here now. This country is not based on Christianity. It is based on the right to believe what you choose to believe. Have our ancestors been predominately white and Christian in some way? Yes. Mine are. Most of us came from somewhere else. Many not our generation, or even the one before it… but our forefathers all came from somewhere. My most recent “arrivals” in my lineage were one set of great-grandparents. They came over here in the early 1890’s. All my others were much earlier. My point is this: If you hate refugees so much, look in the mirror. You are descended from refugees and migrants yourselves. If you hate modern refugees so much, then why don’t you also hate yourself and your lineage?
Just because they’re different doesn’t mean they’re less than you or deserve your hate. They don’t. They came here to get away from violence, oppression, and war; likely a similar path to your ancestors.
(The only exceptions are Native Americans, and it’s possible even they migrated here from elsewhere, just a VERY long time ago, before us white folks showed up and screwed things up.)
So… now to a slightly different topic:
Systemic Problems with Law Enforcement
Someone earlier today made a comment on Facebook about the death of Korryn Gaines, another fatality at the hands of officers that could’ve been handled MUCH differently, whether she had a damn gun or not… well, MANY people made posts and comments, but this one is one that sticks with me: “Hairdressers are required to get at least 18 months of training, doctors and lawyers are required to go through at least 4 years of schooling and training on top of a Bachelor’s Degree to practice medicine or law. So why do police officers only get 6 months of academy training and are expected to know how to do their job properly upon graduation?” (This is roughly what they said. I don’t remember which of my friends said it.)
I shared an article a few weeks back (maybe less) on FB about how police in countries like Iceland and Sweden go through their police academy for at least two years or more, depending on the country. They get FULL training on ALL facets of policing the community. How to handle all kinds of situations. Using psychology, compassion, COMMUNICATION, etc. Not just how to point a damn gun at someone and basic rules and laws. (granted, I’m sure that’s a simplistic view of what training they do, but I know damn well they don’t get anything close to what the other countries do).
Take the case of the scene from last summer, I believe, when four Swedish officers were here in the US either on vacation or for some conference. They were traveling on the subway (NYC, I think) and some guy became belligerent, verging on violent. These four Swedish officers didn’t NEED to become involved, but because of their training, they not only got involved, but subdued the man -without harm- until the next station where NYC police could arrest him and remove him from the subway car.
THAT, my friends and anyone else paying attention, is policing. Not guns waving about and shooting someone who is simply drunk/upset/mentally ill/etc. We have militarized our police forces all over this country and this needs to stop. This country is not a war zone. Stop treating it as such. I believe our police academies need a massive overhaul. Extended training to learn how to communicate effectively, not just pull the gun out and assume shit.
Assuming things gets people killed. Sometimes it’s the person being stopped, sometimes it’s the officer. Sometimes it’s an innocent bystander or a child. Ask questions, stop assuming the worst. Be prepared for it (as an officer, hand on gun but still in holster), but stop the profiling (everyone does it. yes, even civilians).
I don’t know what was going on with Korryn. The full factual story may never get told. Serving a bench warrant should’t involve a lot of officers. One, maybe a pair. Again, I don’t know all the details. Shooting to kill should be a last resort. Not the first.
I think that’s it for the night. Play nice, don’t even think of wielding that sword in my face. Al comments are monitored. And you do go well with ketchup.