Recent horrors have unfolded that left families, towns, and the world reeling. I see them like red bursts of sadness and violence that appeared on the planet like paint splatters on an already-stained canvas. Repeatedly I see the questions posed – When does it stop? What has gone wrong? I don’t agree with the response there can be nothing done to counter it.
If people pulling triggers as solutions had more empathy, they would have made different decisions. I know. It seems pat, but it’s my opinion and if you don’t like it, or it pings off your consciousness like a bug off a windshield, you need to keep reading more than the other guy, who might now be thinking I have a point. If for one second, any people in recent history who undertook to hurt random people as justification for their personal issues, political agenda, or even mental illness had the capacity to put themselves in other people’s shoes and have it mean something, they wouldn’t have acted as they did.
I am overly empathetic. I’m not suggesting you need to tear up at Bell commercials or tell the person who’s firing you that you’re worried they’re going to have a heart attack. I’m suggesting if you, like a friend of mine, are raising kids you worry aren’t empathetic enough that you get them into emotional bootcamp pronto. By bootcamp I mean life experiences, with you alongside them. I’m suggesting if you, like me, have a son who is magnetically drawn to shooter video games and commando-style Nerf videos on YouTube, that you limit their time with those types of stimuli and talk about why it’s not appropriate as a sole source of entertainment or a source of coping strategies.
I don’t like the term monsters to describe individuals in the news lately; monsters are imaginary. These are people who fail their emotional report card and are devoid of empathy. Had they the capacity to see out the end of their selfish vision tunnels and through the haze of desensitized fog they live in, things could have been different. Of course people snap. Mental illness is an issue I can’t pretend to fathom. This is simply the opinion of someone who had a nightmare, can’t sleep, and is typing at 3 a.m. to the sound of crickets outside.
To do my part to heal I am issuing a call for more empathy. It needs to be the next must-have accessory. A coveted status symbol. It is the antidote to apathy, the cure to desensitization. It would be worth it. The price of humanity not having enough empathy has become too high to pay.