Shootings, stabbings, hateful speech

I haven’t read the statistics. I don’t know the hard numbers — the average murder rates — from when I was a child or when my parents were children. I don’t know if it just seems worse now because we have access to it, or because I work in journalism and have to read and write about it every day.

I only know for sure that we live in a terrifyingly violent world. You could say this is just an opinion because one man’s terrifying is another’s “not that bad”. Regardless, I’m afraid.

I’m afraid because we’ve convinced ourselves this isn’t our fault, that we’re not feeding this monster.

We’re okay with believing that our harsh words and hateful opinions aren’t creating this mess.

We have avenues now where we can shove all of our thoughts right into an echo chamber reinforcing what we already believe. We have our own little corners of the internet where we can say whatever we want and defend it with a “it’s my right to free speech”. Heck, I’m doing it right now. And while my goal is never to offend or harm I’m certain I’m making someone mad.

Free speech doesn’t free us from consequence.

So we’re supposed to be okay with saying horrible hateful things about each other because we disagree over politics?

We’re supposed to have no problem condemning an entire race because a small representation of it disagrees with our opinion about a flag and where it should be displayed?

We’re supposed to believe that our angry opinion over who was at fault in a deadly arrest really matters in the grand scheme of things?

We’re supposed to think we should have a say in whether Caitlyn Jenner deserves a courage award from a freakin’ sports network?

Then after all of that we’re supposed to act surprised that Americans are violently attacking and even killing each other every single day?

I don’t know the statistics. I don’t know if it’s happening more often now than it did when I was kid, but I do know I’m not buying it — this lie that we tell ourselves — that it’s not our fault.

No way. It’s time we all start taking some responsibility for what we’re doing to our world and what we’re teaching our children.

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