“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
There is a wonderful freedom in being an eighteen year old college freshman, living in a dormitory. As bad as the world around you might be, your own little world is surrounded by protective walls of ivy. You share interests with fellow dorm dwellers, and there is always someone to philosophize with in those dark hours when the outside world seems confusing. In my dark hours, the words of Omar Khayyam and Rod McKuen seemed so wise. We would read those words, share them and discuss them ad nausea.
Waking up this morning and finding that five police officers were shot dead and six others wounded in a rally in Dallas makes me long for those days when I could look at things from an objective distance. Knowing that this disaster was done in a warped sense of retribution for the equally horrible disaster of the continual police shootings of black men does not make it any easier to comprehend. These young black men are being slaughtered by a small minority of the police force who have been brainwashed to believe that by the mere color of their skin, black men constitute a threat. Some of them do it out of simple bigotry, but most of them are reacting out of fear, and that is even sadder. No one, particularly those who are there to protect and defend us, should judge us by appearances, and the shade of our skin does not determine what is in our hearts.
That being said, it is a minority of police officers who are committing these acts of atrocity, and responding to these horrifying killings by shooting at people because of the uniform that they are wearing is compounding the problem more than these snipers can ever comprehend. The vast majority of people, regardless of the color of their skin, are peace loving and kind, with a desire to live a happy life with those they love. Those people, along with the vast majority of kind-hearted police officers, fade into the background when the rogue among us take center stage. While I believe there is a need for gun control, guns are not the main problem here. The problem lies somewhere in the hearts and upbringing of the people (police or civilian) who have it in their souls to snuff out another life without knowing a thing about that person.
We as parents, educators and good human beings need to begin teaching our youth that race, religion, gender and lifestyle should never tear us apart. Along with their first sips of milk, children should be taught to respect other people, animals and the essence of life itself. Their birthday parties should be populated with children of all races and religions, and differences should be extolled as a wonderful way to enrich their lives. You see, no matter their race, all loving parents want two basic things for their children...health and happiness. Just as we teach them to take care of their bodies, we must teach them ways to reach to their inner goodness to find happiness.
Teach them to turn away from resentment and revenge. Teach them that the words of Khayyam hold as true today as on the day he wrote them...“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
I needed to find happiness this week and chose to read an author who always makes me smile. David Rosenfelt's latest Andy Carpenter novel, Outfoxed was just what I needed. This legal thriller finds Andy and his crew as busy as ever trying to right a legal wrong. The story was well written and I hated to turn to the last page.
I then picked up Jackie King's cozy mystery, The Inconvenient Corpse to continue my light reading week. It was a quick read with interesting characters. I found the plot a bit silly at times, but it did keep my mood light in this week of depressing news.
As always, full reviews of both books will follow this blog.