Thursday, October 23, 2014

221. My Gosh, what' s going on?

My gosh, what is going on?

It seems like this summer has been one disturbing story after another. On the international scale, it began with Israel engaging in battle with the militant group Hamas. Then there was the passenger plane that was shot down by Russian separatists. Then, in graphic detail, we were introduced to ISIS and their horrific behavior in the Middle East and toward captured prisoners.

Domestically, the big story for several weeks was the controversial shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Then unbelievably, a gun range shooting instructor was killed when a nine year old was being taught how to shoot an Uzi. Finally, there was the nauseating story of the ice bucket challenge that seemingly was used to humiliate a student with Autism in Bay Village.

However, getting as much attention as those issues has been what been what is going on in the sports world. A second NBA owner will now be selling his team due to racist comments made to others in management. In the NFL, the conversation has surrounded the shocking video of domestic abuse by Baltimore Raven running back, Ray Rice. Unfortunately for the NFL, it did not stop there as several other players are facing domestic abuse charges and star running back Adrian Peterson is facing child abuse charges. Finally, on the local level, many were appalled when the Steubenville football player convicted of rape returned to the football team.  

It’s been one thing after another, each one with a different sense of emotion—anger, shock, disappointment and sadness. The commonality among headlines has been violence and cruelty directed at other human beings—often based on religion, race, gender and disability.

These issues have stirred debate after debate between newscasters, journalists, bloggers and experts. Rightly so, these are important issues and in some circumstances the issues are complex. There has been the normal share of grandstanding—exaggeration and hyperbole. There has also been rush to judgment and commentary by those with agendas, which likewise limit productive debate.
Time, space and redundancy prohibit a meaningful analysis of any of these in considerable detail. For many issues, I share the common concern and opinion, such as: Why does a nine year need to learn how to shoot an Uzi? How could Ray Rice hit his future wife like that? Is the Gaza strip ever going to be free of conflict?

On a social level, which is always interesting to me, there are parts of the conflicts that are difficult to understand. What are we going to do with terrorist groups and what possesses people to inflict such fear and anger toward others based on arbitrary religious beliefs?  Why do fans show such support to athletes; for it seems that a star player can do just about anything and still enjoy the love and forgiveness of fans?  When it comes to racial matters, why does it seem that political affiliation determines the one’s perspective of the issue?

Finally, there is the frustration of trying to get to the truth. From the Ferguson shooting to the NFL’s investigation of Ray Rice, there is an ever-changing circulation of fact, myth and denial. Obviously, before forming an opinion on the issue, it’s important to have all the facts. Too often, we’ve seen, and for obvious reason, there is lying, deceit and cover-up. With all of the news outlets and availability of social media, there is a lot of information and misinformation. And, just as appalling, there is the influence of financial considerations. Many times, companies and intuitions like the NFL, don’t make decisions based on principle, but rather financial impact.
It’s been a depressing few months. It has had a real effect on me—and it has been suggested that I stop watching the news. However, these are serious issues: sexual assault/domestic violence, terrorism, racism, war, shootings, bullying and child abuse. These issues should be regarded as avoidable and unacceptable, and we need a societal evolution that is less understanding and forgiving of acts of violence and cruelty. We need to stop accepting the excuses—whether they are political, religious/cultural or financial.

Enough is enough.

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