Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Long Foggy Road

The promise of my last post of 2012 has left me feeling like this road: foggy.

Since that post:

- I've read articles about violence in the media and I've paid a lot of attention to the fact that even as commentators like Jon Stewart ridicule the gun fanatics, the commercials on his show are 75% guns and explosions.

- I've watched as the gun proponents blame the mental health people who blame the media.

- I've read articles and listened to stories about Obama's gun proposals, heard the contentious nature of the debate, felt the iron stances of both sides.

- I've watched the Newtown families as they banded together to make change. I saw this family with NC connections talk about the loss of their beautiful daughter, Catherine.

- I've talked to friends and family about my frustration with finding a simple solution and with my inability to write one word here about my thoughts.  A friend said, "You can't change the world; you can only work within your sphere of influence." One daughter said that if my promise felt like a burden then I shouldn't do it.

And now I'm trying to get my mind around what is possible.  Is it realistic to think that I'm going to change Richard Burr's mind about gun control?  Is the motion picture industry going to listen to my pleas to stop rating for money and begin thinking about who should be seeing the violence they're selling? (See this article that ran in our local paper.) Are video game manufacturers going to stop and think about the desensitization of young people toward violence and change their ways?  Would improving mental health services help? Is it possible to form a lobby that would counter the NRA? Picket? Boycott? Write letters? Donate money? Raise money?

It all seems overwhelming.  I'm going to do two things for now.

First I'm going to take a few minutes every day to just sit and put my attention on the fact that one of the overarching feelings in this country right now is fear.  I'd like to ask you to do the same.  If you pray, pray.  If you meditate, meditate mindfully on it.  If you don't do either, just take a quiet moment or two to consider. What are we afraid of and how can we instill a sense of safety in our homes, communities, schools, and country?

Second, I'm going to keep looking for opportunities to make a difference. I'm still going to ask for some guest bloggers, and if you want to volunteer please do. I'm going to work on that town council.

In the meantime I am going move on to other subjects in this blog until I gain some clarity on what direction to take.  I welcome your conversation; I want it to be a dialogue.


Virginia S. Wood, Psy.D. said...

What am I afraid of?

Most recently, it was a freaky, creepy, obsessional, stalker-ish voice mail that came in overnight at my office last week. The police officer I spoke with seemed to think it was kind of cute, a kind of mash note like one 3rd-grader passes to another across the aisle. And even though I made it perfectly clear that I understood there was no explicit threat in the caller's words, and that I was only making a report to get it on record, the officer spoke to me in a way that made it equally clear he thought I was being a smidge hysterical.

We as women live in a society where we are, in essence, operating behind enemy lines our entire lives. We're completely on our own--no backup, no extraction teams. We're completely deniable: Our government refuses to acknowledge that we are even here, never mind that we might be in harm's way.

What would make me feel safer?

Four different people recommended I carry a gun. This is not terribly practical in a workplace that features fifty or sixty mentally ill children and teens traipsing through on a weekly basis.

What would work better for me would be to live in a culture in which unwanted contacts like that one were unquestionably deemed unacceptable, in which women and girls weren't constantly having to fend off sexual overtures, and in which we didn't live under the constant threat of sexual assault.

Failing that, I'd settle for my local constabulary taking crimes against women seriously. And yes, I understand that no crime had been committed here (at least not yet). But what would it have cost the officer to take a report and offer to do a drive-by of the office once in a while, just to be sure I haven't picked up a stalker? Or to agree it was creepy and suggest some precautions I might take? Or even just to speak to me with some respect, some indication that he understood what it is like to be on the receiving end of the sort of declaration of eternal "love" such as I had received?

mamie said...

Okay, Ginny. You've moved me in a direction that I've thought about going. Stay tuned to next week. Thank you for your very detailed response. I'd also like for you to do a guest blog. Interested? We could talk specific topic.