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How to Respond?

By July 18, 2016July 20th, 2016One Comment


Like many of us, I suppose, I have more questions about the world we live in than answers.  In fact, I have only questions.  The majority of answers provided by the experts are unsatisfying and incomplete to me, because they don’t appear to “know” either. From where I stand, no one seems to get the big picture. This recent round of violence is a complex, fucked up mess.  My guess is if you think you have the answers, you most likely don’t.

I’ve been reading lots of opinions about our current state of affairs, nationally and internationally.  So far, nothing has helped me to come to terms with it or show a sensible and possibly effective direction out of this.  Do we accept the fact that this might be the new normal or do we fight (somehow) to see that it isn’t?

How do we fit this current state of affairs into our lives?  What is an appropriate response?  Is there an appropriate response?  Is ignorance bliss?  Do we ignore it at our peril or will it help keep us sane?  I think it’s important to try to keep the violence in perspective.  It doesn’t represent the bulk of our humanity.

Some shout, “strength! and war with Isis!” That might provide a knee jerk short lived solution, assuming that we hit a knock out punch. But, wars only create misery and the repercussions from them come back for generations to bite you in the ass.  If one part of this monster’s head is cut off, I imagine it wouldn’t be long before a new and uglier head appears.


Is it realistic to strive for a world where the kinds of vicious attacks on the innocent can be prevented?  It seems to me that if someone is demented and determined, opportunities for acting out one’s demons can be found pretty easily.

More weapons and guns?  I think the more gun scenario aka arm everyone has helped get us into this mess.  Moreover, it sure ain’t helping those who have been targeted, so fortunately, that’s one theory down.

It’s unfortunate that several of the shooters in recent attacks have been in the military and served in war zones.  In order to kill anyone, most individuals have to be hardened.  In war, it’s kill or be killed.  It might not be easy for some individuals to turn that training off, particularly if their mental stability is off, possibly, because of war.

It’s tempting to just retreat from the media all together, but that seems cowardly.  And yet, the imagery and the feed that we get can be distorted and unrealistic in its intensity and desire to drive viewers and readers. Where does the truth lie?  In some truly awful way, these acts of violence can bring excitement to a dull day, as long as it doesn’t touch too close to home.  We all become voyeurs, as we shake our heads in sadness.

The instruction to “love” has almost become a cliché.  As has the consolation ” our hearts and prayers go out….”  That alone ain’t gonna do it.

There’s no magic wand we can wave to have everyone agree to the Golden Rule, although it’s the basis of every religion. I do believe that acts of kindness beget other acts of kindness and vice versa.  That might be a start.

the golden rule



Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.

One Comment

  • Mark dendy says:

    Yes this is an excellent essay on the juggernaut we are tightly knotted into. It appears that only a magical miracle could save the whole thing. And we don’t believe in those anymore. Atoning for throwing the middle east into chaos starting with the Iraq war might be a place for us to start as a nation. But that certainly won’t happen from Hawks Hillary Clinton or fascist Donald Trump . No clear answers on the sand on end only endless questions