Drained and dark

I’m a quart low in energy. It’s been so draining. So much bad stuff going on both man-made and natural disasters. It takes a toll. The sadness is overwhelming. (And I’m not a victim! How bad is it for them?)

Remembering back to the first mass shootings – Columbine and Sandy Hook – my heart hurt a lot. It took weeks to get back to normal, or the new normal. So much confusion.

Then the frequency kicked up. Now it’s monthly or bi-weekly or something. I struggle because I am empathetic yet I can’t live in a pit of eternal sadness. Have I become hardened? I worry about that. It’s not good.

There have always been shootings but most were not random. There is some root cause whether it’s valid to the rest of us or not. Maybe it is domestic-related or gang-related but there was a reason and a target. We can understand that. It makes us feel better somehow. Safer.

A killer shooting as many people as they can without knowing anyone is not something I can comprehend. There is no reason. We are not safe. It can happen anywhere.

Recently there was a killing over a parking space. Really? A parking space? Here take mine. I can walk.

We say it is mental illness. Maybe, but there was always mental illness and it didn’t end in mass random shootings. It may end in suicide or at worst a related murder/suicide.

What is different? The openly accepted rudeness and hatred? Social media (we like to blame that a lot)? More available weapons? The chaos? The blame game? Hollow words with no meaning? That’s for someone smarter than me to decide.

Back when I was a kid, there were tragic accidents. Things happened that no one intended. People accepted it with reluctance or sadness, but they accepted it. Now people go for blood. I wouldn’t be surprised to see vigilante groups roam again.

How did we get here but better still how do we get out of here?

Author’s note: I apologize for such a dark post. I admire comedians as they seem to be able to continue their humor when their hearts are breaking. I need some lessons on that. My heart goes out to all victims of fires, shootings and all negativity that is going on.

 

74 thoughts on “Drained and dark

  1. You have written what many of us feel and think. I pray for the victims and the troubled folks who do the unthinkable and for those who lose so much to natural disasters. I don’t know what else to do…I have no answers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No need to apologize. Most of us are feeling the tense energy in our society. It truly is draining. We went to the moves over the weekend, and I found myself making sure I had my eyes on all exits in case something tragic were to happen. I think about it everywhere I go.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know how we as sane people are to process all the unnecessary violence and vitriol in our world today. Perhaps it’s always been there, but with our so-called president, it has been set loose on us. I keep telling myself that something good and lasting will be the result of these last few years of hate, but it’s getting more difficult to do so. I feel your pain and ennui. I’ve got it, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Kate – sorry to hear that you are feeling overwhelmed by all the horrible stuff going on. However we feel, (good, bad or indifferent), the bad things will still happen and we will still know about them even if we avoid the news, as I do. Surely the world would feel better with more Pollyannas in it? In any case the stats tell the real story as others have mentioned – the western world is predominantly peaceful, safe, housed, comfortable, warm, fed and rich. We do not send children up to clean chimneys or to workhouses any more; life expectancy has consistently increased (until recently); many diseases have been eradicated, it is rare for mothers to die in childbirth. Individual goodness is happening everywhere at individual and neighbour level especially. I don’t advocate apathy/indifference at all – but I think maybe we add to the world’s ‘Bank of Happiness’ if we savour the good all around us and make it our primary focus. Now go stroke those cats of yours….the best form of stress relief.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When too many bad things happen too close, it gets overwhelming. I have to focus on how safe it is. When I see pictures of the chaos in the middle east I am very thankful I wasn’t born there. There is so much violence that survival is almost a miracle. Hugs to all those in situations much more dire.

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  5. When you look at the statistics of other developed countries, it’s obvious that there is a way out of this. Take Australia for example: 1 firearm death/100,000 in 2010; in the US, it’s 10.2. It’s .2 for Great Britain, .6 for Spain. The worst of the rest of the list is Finland at 3.6. We have more guns than people in this country, way too many. That’s obvious. How to change that is not so obvious, but we can start working on it. The kids from Parkland give me hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Kate…hugs coming your way. It is just so overwhelming. I know that if we don’t learn from history, it will repeat itself… I don’t understand how a man like 45 is able to be President. I just don’t understand. I wish the news would start covering only good things!!! I know they are out there. Am I just being a Pollyanna?

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    • I’ve started to focus on local news. Yes we have murders but not the same scale or senselessness. At least with local news you get the good stories too. I often wonder if all this (ALL THIS) isn’t hard on newscasters too.

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  7. That was very touching Kate. I, too, feel sadness at the way the world is today. Living so close to Detroit, there is always a senseless tragedy of some kind. People take a life for no reason at all – have gun, will kill. Today a police department mourned the loss of one of its K-9 officers, Axe. He was a beautiful 4-year-old German Shepherd and was laid to rest ten days after being shot by a perp who was being pursued by the police. The perp was told to “halt” … he halted all right. He turned around and shot the dog. So, the police shot the perp. I watched the handlers weep the night the dog died. I watched the other K-9 handlers and their dogs, as they gathered around, all subdued as they watched Axe’s body being taken away in a tiny casket, just as if it had been a fellow officer. I cried both times and I thought to myself – do I cry for the people who senselessly die and were also innocent victims? The natural disasters this year have been extraordinary … it seems there are no ordinary little forest fires, but these behemoth fires and Governor Brown says California’s fire-ravaged devastation looks like a war zone. The political things on the news don’t make me cry, but shake my head in despair instead.

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    • He shot the dog? I hope they shot him dead! Sorry, no sympathy there. Police handlers are very connected to their dog. Locally a policeman retired and his dog retired with him (attaining the retirement age for dogs). They stayed together. It was so touching. *soft sobs watching news*

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      • Yes he turned around and shot Axe. The police did shoot him dead. Now the perp’s family said “he didn’t do it, the police officers shot the dog” (please, give me a break with that). I watched parts of the funeral which was streamed and got upset and turned it off. This news clip from Fox 2 News, shows a man, not a police officer, just a dog lover who cries at the end of the clip and I got a catch in my throat. He was a beautiful dog and the St. Clair Shores Police Department says he was fierce in the field, but a “baby” at the station house. A few years ago we had a young foot patrol officer whose beat was Wayne State University which is near downtown Detroit, and he was shot in the head by a guy who they caught as there were security cameras everywhere – he came along on his bike and killed the officer but has been found not competent to stand trial. He had a K-9 officer with him. The dog was confused at what happened to his handler and laid down near his crumpled body and that is how the regular Detroit Police Department officers found him. At Officer Colin Rose’s funeral, his dog was brought in by another handler to view the casket to give the dog closure. All K-9s and their handlers were present. Officer Rose’s dog was not put into service for awhile because he suffered from PTSD. He was engaged to be married. You’re like me – I know that there are awful things going on out there in the world – murders every day, but this story about Axe just tore me up. Your story about the policeman and his dog retiring together is so touching. The dogs should all wear bullet proof coverings but not all police departments can afford them and often there are fundraisers to buy them for the K-9 officers.
        http://www.fox2detroit.com/news/local-news/final-farewell-to-st-clair-shores-k-9-officer-axe

        Liked by 1 person

  8. It does seem awful that I now nod. “Of course. That’s where we are now.Nothing will change.”
    And then I remind myself that things do change. It’s just not immediate.
    I listened to a podcast last year that gave me hope. It was comparing gun control to the regulation of the automobile. Back in the day, everyone assumed that the tragic accidents on the road, all the death and mayhem were inevitable. It was the price of convenience.
    But patient persistence with testing and overcoming people’s preconceived notion that NOTHING COULD BE DONE finally changed things. Laws about seat belts and laws about the kinds of structural elements required in a car, laws about speed, laws about who could drive, etc made a HUGE change in how many people die on the road. Those legislative efforts were fought tooth and nail by the auto industry in the 50s/60s. Now of course, they use the safety as a marketing tool.
    There is a parallel.
    Except, I wonder if the auto industry was quite as conniving as the NRA. They have managed to stop the sort of data collection etc that are really necessary to change the view point of it’s inevitability and to drive the sorts of regulations that might actually work. It’s nice to say let’s regulate, but it requires effective regulation.
    Sorry. It’s a hobby horse of mine. This comment is way too long.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Thanks for this post, Kate. I too like to find actual reasons for when violence happens — a drug deal gone bad, a spurned lover, a grudge against someone, etc. Something that makes me realize this was a specific act of violence against someone else. But lately that’s not what we’re seeing; instead it seems provoked by ideology and hatred. Since the 2016 election public expressions of outrage are far more commonplace. This worries me because I’m not sure if that genie will ever go back into the bottle. We can only hope this is a phase in our history; I sure hope so. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Technology and social media create separatism and a different way of seeing the world.
    People feel more isolated and judged than ever.
    Add into the mix video gaming that is violent and devalues human life. (And the fact that the industry makes a lot of money and has lobbyists influencing our government) Then add the fact that guns are readily available (And the fact that the industry makes a lot of money and has lobbyists influencing our government).
    Add the fact that there is little mental help for teenagers or adults in mental stress. (The numbers of teens showing up in ERs with mental issues is huge. They are given drugs but there is no guidance or support) The healthcare industry and pharmaceuticals can’t make money on counseling or spending time with distressed people. ( And the fact that Pharmacy and Healthcare industries make lots of money and have lobbyists influencing our government)
    Add into the mix the disasters in our environment (And industries that are killing the planet that make lots of money and have lobbyists influencing our government).

    Take away lobbyists and perhaps the government will get back to taking care of the people, instead of promoting special interests and undermining society.
    By the way, this is called bribery in the rest of the world.

    I don’t watch the US news anymore. Not because I don’t want to be kept up to date, but because all the reporting is based on getting higher ratings, which means targeting viewers’ emotional centers, so they get hooked and feel things strongly.

    Just like our President does.

    We are being manipulated and don’t even know it. We don’t hear the whole truth, or get to see the bigger issues. Instead we are told stories that tear us apart.
    That’s the real tragedy.
    Sending a hug your way Kate. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a powerful post. It touches on so much that we all think about, but have no control over. That, is the hardest part.

    Our problems? Our society no longer has consequences. We are in the “no fault” “no expectations” era of idealism. Somewhere we started an idealistic movement, help others, they are down-trodden from politics, poverty, environment, and only seek help. It’s not their fault. Instead of dolling out help according to need, we automatically rationalize the need, and provide the services. We have given away our commonsense, and allowed others to claim it is not based in “fairness”. We now value feelings/emotions over performance/expectations. We have removed the fear of failure, that teaches us to try harder, or build it better. Little Johnny will get a participation trophy, just for showing up at the game, no effort needed. He may never try to excel in life learning that.

    Shootings?
    No sure swift consequences, We have litigated ourselves to the point, that it is hazardous to report red-flags we see. A Shooter is mostly a disturbed person. They are frustrated, they are mad, they need attention. These are “conditions”. If they snap from the pressure, they may pull out a weapon in anger and shoot someone. A mentally ill shooter does’not spend time buying, planning, transporting weapons, and then giving up, or shooting himself. Doing that took a cognitive choice and actions. Why has it reached that point? No true consequences. Go back to the ancient movies, all they had to tell the bad guy, is if he shoots that cop, he’ll get the chair. It was true, the criminal knew very shortly he would be executed if he shot, instead he opted for a few years in prison or arrest. Now? You’re placed on death row, no guarantee you will be executed anytime soon, and during that time, you might wiggle out of it.

    When I grew up in the 60s there was less general crime. Death penalty resulted from Shooting or killing a police officer, nighttime armed burglary, Rape in some cases. Then society decided that it was cruel unusual punishment, to execute someone just because they had killed a cop, who was also a father, husband, or son.

    I could go on all day I suppose, but it makes my head tired. Many of us have done this to ourselves by being led along willingly. We are no longer Americans, but separate parties, mostly there to get what they can get. Gone are the days when you had independents run, supported by people that cared.

    We need more care for the mentally disturbed. We need more consequences for those breaking the laws. This includes immigration. Just because you get across the line without being stopped, doesn’t mean you should be given benefits. Apply legally like many before. We’ll never stop this though, as those coming here are potential voters for all the parties, and they are a cash cow to those who would employ them.

    I’m going for a cup of coffee. Just relax folks, the cure will not be in our lifetime. It will take a major reset of some type, that makes everyone wake up and relearn common sense and justice.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It is very disheartening and I too wonder when and how it will change. The fires that wiped out whole cities is just so sad and then the bickering about who’s fault it was (PG&E, the Feds for taking away funding, the state for not using the funding they had properly) is disgusting. On the positive side, my 22 year old daughter and her friend went to Target last night and each spent about $150 on supplies to donate. Things like underwear, toiletries, paper, pencils, etc. Perhaps the younger generation can help us more than we think.

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  13. Seems that each generation faces major natural catastrophes and the cruelty of manmade mayhem to add to its woes. Hopefully one day the goodness of people will emerge as the dominant factor in the manmade variety. We show signs of compassion and eagerness to help with the natural disasters now and perhaps that is a step in the right direction. So chin up my friend. All is not lost.

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  14. I really have no words to add. You and the commenters have pretty much covered how I feel. I have had a sad for awhile now. I won’t watch the news and CH has it on all the time. I get out and walk or close myself up in the office and watch Kitkat Playroom where a very young ginger kitten was found on the street alone. Her name is Tater Tot and she is the youngest kitten to ever receive a magnetic shunt to drain the fluid off her brain. She is a hydrocephalus warrior of a kitten. Sounds silly with all the other sad out there but she gives me hope.

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    • I always find animals comforting. I read this morning that the veterinarian school at USC is sheltering and treating cats found in the fires. Warmed my heart. All the cats had their whiskers singed off and most had paws wrapped so I assume they have burns. Sad but there is a happy side to it. They are being helped.

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  15. The mind set that “I have a right to carry a gun for my own protection”, would suggest no faith in the various law enforcement agencies. In effect, a wild-west mentality. Sadly, until the gun control voices are louder than the NRA and the related associates who are making a lot of many from gun sales (i.e. gun killings of all sorts are good for business), I see no potential for change. The human ability to have a convenient short memory (which can be a positive asset in other circumstances!), also means that mass killings are quickly absorbed by “day to day” life. It is sad that those school kids who were demonstrating for gun controls, are learning that their voices are lost in their own society. An unfortunate lesson for them to learn.

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  16. I’m in a similar place, Kate. I do think that social media has a lot to do with it ~ not just because people want to “be internet sensations” or “go viral” but because all our connectivity has decreased face to face discussions.

    Back when, a troubled individual might chat with family, co-workers, fellow students, teachers, counsellors to alleviate internal rumblings. Someone might have spotted the need for psychological counseling and gotten them professional help, etc. Now, they turn to hate sites on social media which fans the flames of discontent and fuels their anger, confusion, etc.

    An oversimplification, I know. But perhaps it’s a plausible theory, nonetheless.

    Personally, I think we are passing the point of no return. Those in power want to be richer and more powerful at the expense of the environment, the working class, etc. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. We might be heading for a “storming of the Bastille.’

    Added to that, we have mucked up the environment so there are more frequent and more powerful natural disasters. We still have the resources to help bail out affected communities, but that cannot last forever. It’s not sustainable. FEMA will eventually run out of funds. And the Red Cross will falter.

    We are headed for an environmental collapse, or an economic collapse, or both. And that has to mess with people’s heads. They feel powerless. Caught in front of a racing train. And so they do what toddlers do ~> they lash out. Only they aren’t toddlers, they are gun toting psychopaths.

    As I said last week:

    I fear that nothing is going to change. We’re all going to die horrible deaths from global warming, hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides, mass shootings, the black plague, medical shortages, water wars, famine, wildfires, the flu, TB, and . . . zombified turkeys, genetically modified food, and things that go bump in the night.

    Happy Thanksgiving. Watch out for masked madmen.

    (I might be feeling a tad “pessimistic.” Maybe we’ll turn things around in time. Fingers crossed.)

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  17. I read a study recently that talked about how the world was actually improving overall in terms of justice and less violence/ tragedy. I think perhaps those of us who’ve grown up in areas safe from war and poverty feel like it’s the opposite, though, because mass/ social media bring horrors we didn’t see before to us very quickly.

    There was always violence, even mass violence — just not in our safe, white, American suburbs and schools. And the current administration’s desire to whip the American public into a frenzy over anything except that which is actually killing us is soul-crushing, indeed.

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    • There is truth to that. I have always been so grateful I was born in a place that wasn’t violent especially since I’m female. I see the annihilation of tribes or races or religions in other areas of the world. I don’t understand why we can’t let people be (and yes I know all the psychological reasons). I am beyond frustrated with the current administration. His job is to bring us together and comfort us. He gets beyond a zero. I’m waiting for karma.

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    • I’ve read those studies too. It helps to give us a more realistic perspective. My guess is things may get worse in our country for a while. Then they’ll get better. Trump’s temper tantrums will increase, but when he’s gone, I’m hoping there will be lots of stored up goodness that people will want to put to use.

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  18. I was really touched by your post today. There is evil in the world. But we cannot take all those tragedies on ourselves. If we can do something to help, we should, but we have to turn our thoughts to the positive, good things that are happening all around us every day. I hope you have better days ahead.

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  19. I agree, things do seem worse in the world. But for all of the bad, there is still good in people. Not to be all Pollyanna, but this is what I have to believe and seek out when I hear another horrific story on the news. Recently, after the 1000 Oak shooting in California, I watched an interview from a survivor. She was talking about how horrible it was, but at the same time, she said people were helping one another off the ground, praying for the victims. She said she was moved by the love around her. If we stop believing there is good in the world, we have nothing.

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    • Yesterday I saw a woman interviewed who had lost her home to the Malibu fire. It came fast and furious. She got out with her pets and her loved ones. She was so grateful. She didn’t focus on what she lost (everything) but on what she had. She did give some tips about digitalizing (on the cloud) pictures, those little baby books (she lost all records of her kids) with their progress and anything that is meaningful to you. It was two days later. I strive to be that person but it’s not easy.

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