“It’s time to take a stand.
Brothers and sisters join hands.
We’ve got to let love rule.”
I’m going to highly recommend listening to Lenny Kravitz’s super-star making classic, Let Love Rule, more than just a few times before, during and after reading this post. And play it LOUD. Hopefully it appropriately conveys what I’m really trying to say. Because, though I am a writer, my words may be easily misunderstood. The following sentences may wander, ramble and seem to never end. That is just how I’m feeling right now…
I am calling out anyone and everyone who will read or listen. Everyone. You, me, the media, Hollywood, public companies, private companies, politicians. The President. Yeah, that one. The guy who lives in the big white house we pay for. Him too.
But not just the Prez. In fact, I want him to listen, but I want him to listen to OUR response. Not just my plea. I want him to see a nation take care of itself without his help. Because, after all, that is what this nation was built on. Taking care of ourselves. For the people, by the people. It means not relying on the man we call the president.
Now more than ever we need to be self sufficient, self reliant, and take back what is rightfully ours. And that means taking responsibility for ourselves. Let’s start with this…
Last Friday we all witnessed something that was beyond horrible. Beyond words. And yet, it’s not the first time a gunman has entered a school. And in the aftermath of each tragedy prior to the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, we’ve seen politicians bluster about new laws, we’ve seen Hollywood cancel premieres, we’ve seen the news outlets dig deep into the lives of everyone involved. But we’ve also seen copycats attempt similar plots, and soulless thieves prey on the victims. We’ve seen these things before, and yet we are seeing them all over again.
We’ve become a nation of voyeurs, so interested in watching from the comfort of our own homes but unwilling to get our hands dirty and ACT.
A Facebook and Twitter post circulated over the weekend, attributed originally to actor Morgan Freeman, where it illustrated his thoughts on why such horrible tragedies occur. He blames the media. The sensational nature of the news, covering events and making the gunmen out to be notorious villains instead of anonymous people who may have needed help.
And then it went viral.
And then Morgan Freeman denied he wrote it.
And what irks me more than anything is not that he didn’t write it (because let’s face it, actors aren’t generally known for their writing), but that he didn’t take the golden opportunity to validate it. He had an opportunity to turn the tide, and he missed it. He had an opportunity to make a call to action, to lead the charge for social responsibility and instead he did all he could to distance himself from it. All we needed was…
“I didn’t write it, but I wish I had.”
That’s it. No garbage about “My people are looking in to the source.” COME ON. You’re an ACTOR, not a detective. We’re still waiting for the results of O.J. Simpson’s investigation. Like we really care what you find out?! It was a brilliant post. Validate it.
Validate it, because it truly was brilliant. So here goes….
“I didn’t write it either. But I wish I had.”
There. I’m risking alienating the public, my fans and the press with that statement. There is the chance that my livelihood will be affected because I’ve taken a stand. I’m okay with it. If I need to go find another job, I’ll do it, because the direction we’ve been heading is ridiculous.
People stick their nose in when it doesn’t concern them. Hollywood, especially. Politics? Oh, yeah, they LOVE to talk politics. Nary a one of them have educated themselves or served in the trenches of the political environment but that doesn’t stop them from spewing their opinion at every microphone shoved in their face. Sure, everyone has an opinion, but do I need to hear yours every time you open your mouth? I like you because you look purty on a big screen, and that’s it. I’d prefer to get my political commentary from people who do that sort of thing for a living.
I’d feel the same way if Wolf Blitzer was cast as a hobbit in the next Peter Jackson movie. Stick to what you know.
Besides, we get enough nonsense from the politicians themselves. Let us sift through that quagmire without your input. Thank you.
Seriously. It seems like Bizarro World, where everything is backwards. Media and Hollywood make no bones about some things, and then distance themselves when it counts the most. Of course, that is usually when it means it might affect their pocketbook. But let me digress.
I read an article this morning about a picture that legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk posted on Instagram, where it shows a picture of him riding a board and swinging his young daughter through the air. She’s not wearing a helmet, and now he’s catching grief about it. SERIOUSLY? Why is this NEWS?
Millions of kids ride their skateboards every day without a helmet. Parents swing their kids in the yard every day without a helmet. Or put them on their shoulders. Or play football, baseball or basketball with them. The man is a professional. Maybe the best EVER. Is it a risk? Maybe. But it’s HIS risk. And he is obviously of the mind that the world is a dangerous place, and sometimes we just don’t need to be wearing helmets. More children ages 5 and Up are killed in automobile accidents than any other way. Are we wearing helmets in cars now? No. Life is inherently dangerous. But some risks are worth taking.
It’s not like he is Michael Jackson and he is holding her over the balcony. Now that was cause for alarm…
But again, some things are made news because the sheep (that’s you and me, folks) will read it or buy it or write an unusually long blog post about it. We take the opportunity to do that. And we shouldn’t.
We should be taking the opportunity…no, making the opportunity, to tell the media outlets that that kind of story isn’t worth our time. It isn’t news. Be more socially responsible. Focus on the fact that he loves his daughter and is outside with her having fun. Stop trying to make everyone fearful and paranoid.
Because, really, where is the outrage that kids are spending countless hours in front of the computer or television playing first person shooter games? Where are the articles calling out the parents who aren’t looking out for their child’s mental wellness?
It starts with us. You and me. The sheep. If the shoe fits…
We need to stop patronizing anyone and everyone who isn’t being socially responsible. Stop buying the rags, the mags, the movies and the games. Stop watching the programs on television. Start writing letters to industry executives and local politicians. Stop trying to make my food socially responsible and then completely ignore the elephant in the room – the media.
Look, there is no one answer to this problem. It isn’t one thing that got us into this mess. It is a combination of things. So start looking at the combination.
Gun control. Sure, fewer guns means fewer opportunities. Stricter regulations to get guns, but more importantly stricter penalties for those people who use them in illegal and threatening ways. Time to get tough, and stay tough, on the bad guys.
Politicians. Get over yourself. Stop spending profane amounts of money to get re-elected and start talking to each other. Your job isn’t to hoard cash and power and cow-tow to the lobbyists. The only “special interest” group you should be interested in is us – John and Jane Q. Public. Start doing your job or we recall you.
Us. You and me. We need to stop patronizing the news outlets that fill our screens with 24 hours of pictures of the victim’s families crying or worse, pictures and details of the horrible people responsible. We don’t need to know every little thing about these people. You think you do, but you don’t. It isn’t going to help you prevent these things from happening in the future. That information is going to help law enforcement and emergency services, who will in turn do their best to educate the public on the best means.
What can we do? We can give the families space, and peace. Isn’t that what you’d want? And we can be cautious of the world around us. We can report suspicious activity. We can help those that need help. We can give a few more hugs. We can hold each other responsible for our actions, as it affects others. We can be an active participant in the lives of our children.
Media. Take responsibility. It shouldn’t have to come to regulation. Be the first to say “We’re not going to camp out on the victim’s front lawn in hopes we can catch a glimpse of them grieving.” Be the first to say that, because we are taking responsibility for ourselves and we are going to stop patronizing your nonsense. Focus on the happy things. Turn the tide. Give us a few moments of bad, and then bombard us with the good. You hold the power…will you use it wisely or grab for cash? Oh, and before I forget. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram (insert any social media outlet here) – YOU ARE MEDIA TOO. Start getting involved.
Hollywood. Good for you for cancelling premieres of violent films. It’s a start. Now run with it. Let’s see a little more love, a little less gratuitous violence. I’m all for a shoot’em up film, but let’s balance things out. Start making smarter, more entertaining movies we can all enjoy. And most importantly, let’s keep the chatter down. If you want to ramble on about something, encourage people to be more socially responsible. Better yet, lead by example.
Hey music industry…that goes for you too. You don’t have to be more socially responsible, but you should. Don’t glorify violence and then get all upset when it happens. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
Gaming Industry. The ball is in your court. I don’t believe video games are the “reason” these things happen any more than I think music is the “reason” Charles Manson is a nut job. Or The Catcher in the Rye contributed to the death of John Lennon. But…I do think they played their part. Gaming is more extreme than music or books have ever been. There is some evidence to support the connection between violent video games and violent behavior in kids. Should you stop completely? Probably not. But let’s tone it down some. Be more responsible about it. It’s a competitive world and you’re just trying to make your obscene amounts of money, I get it. But seriously…you have blood on your hands. How about washing it off?
Those idiots in the comment sections of articles and in chat rooms and on social media sites? They’re idiots. They are the minority. Stop listening to them. Stop responding to them. Simply flag them as spam and move on. They WANT you to respond. You calling them out as a troll or dropping an F-Bomb is adding fuel. Stop doing it. Report it, and move on.
Me? I’ll step down off my box now. I’ll listen to a little more Lenny; try and fill my head with some positive vibes.
We’ve got to let love rule…