I make a conscious effort to stay out of politics and religion especially in social media outlets and my blogs.
I also consciously avoid social commentary. However I do support creativity and building character and aspiring to be the best that we can be. To make a difference in the world and help others in achieving their highest potential and dreams.
With all that has happened this year and it just keeps building, I think it is time for some radical honesty about violence. Specifically why it keeps catapulting to new levels to where it is simply unbelievable culminating in the senseless slaughter now of the unspeakable; elementary school children?
I do not watch the news and I do not read the newspaper as I find the talking heads depressing. Whether it be a serial killer, sniper, or the Batman shooter, and now this, these media outlets beat a dead horse and look at very angle constantly. Now they are even interviewing these kids that made it through this tragedy.
This coverage is what gives these acts their impetus. A last ditch effort to have a voice albeit a deadly one and then culminating in the ultimate act of self-sabotage, suicide. It is what it is, an act of violent rage and cowardice that leads to all of us feeling more anger and hopelessness. It goes on and on and I agree with our President:
“We can’t tolerate this anymore”
I have a unique perspective on this and it is fresh on my mind. I was shot this year in a senseless act of violence by an individual who came to my home to try and kill me. He shot me while I was walking my dog in my neighborhood in broad daylight on a Monday afternoon. I had never met him in my life, I did not know him and did not even know he existed. The bullet entered my right chest cavity, missed by heart by a few millimeters, punctured my left lung and exited my left side and lodged in my left bicep. After surviving this I found out he is related to another individual who made an unbelievable set of false allegations against me over 8 years ago.
I want to share something first hand with you that happens when you are shot. “In a moment of crisis you will not rise to the occasion. You will default to your level of training.” As I realized what was happening I took off in a zig-zag pattern and carefully monitored my breathing. You have to stay calm and focused.
Something else that happened to me when I was shot is I immediately thought of my Mother. People aren’t shot often in Denton and the last time I remember a shooting in Denton a homeless kid was fatally wounded on Fry street. The newspaper article reported: “As the victim lay dying he asked for his Mother.” I have read about this phenomena occurring in soldiers as well. Proof we all love our Mothers. It is also interesting to note that the same year I was shot my birth mother found me. Many of you may or may not know I was adopted. She had been trying to find me for a long time before that.
I can’t help but consider the possibility that my birth Mother somehow sensed that my life had come so close to an end, via some kind of cosmic motherly intuition, and thereby was able to find her way to me. I have no way to prove this, but it is something I feel in my gut.
The authorities and I looked into these allegations and the facts were clear. These people were crazy and anyone who truly knows me would concur. This person even had the decency to come to my home and apologize to me after the fact and this was witnessed by a good friend. The apology was the right thing to do but it made me think “what is wrong with people these days?” I was not guilty and never indicted, nonetheless I had to endure the local media printing my name but not that of the alleged accuser?
When it was all said and done and the truth came to the surface a local reporter told my attorney “I didn’t want to write that article” It also led me to wonder if the person that apologized to me communicates with their family members at all. How can someone carry a grudge for 8 years for something that never happened? We are living in some crazy crazy times.
So let’s get to the point.
The United States is one of most violent countries on the Earth. We love to taut ourselves as this righteous bringer of justice and peace to the world but it’s time to get real and I mean this.
We are no different than the Middle East. We have suicide bombers here as well. They are the Adam Lanza, James Holmes and the Jared Loughner’s. They are the American version of suicide bombers. Look what they have in common, take out as many people as you can and then yourself. This is just the beginning. Schools, Movie Theaters, Churches and anywhere people gather are now targets.
Just like the Middle East where the suicide bomber targets a packed cafe or often a bus their goal is to kill as many people as possible and then take them selves out. As I mentioned before it is the ultimate act of cowardice followed by the ultimate act of self-sabotage, suicide. In almost all of these cases except for a few exceptions in the Middle East the perpetrators are young disgruntled males. Remember the promise of 72 virgins in the afterlife? As I have pointed out before violence is also directly aligned with sexual repression and social awkwardness.
I can’t help but feel that there is something bigger going on here as well. In the earlier part of this century families were close. They had to stick together to survive and the children were needed. My Grandparents had 9 kids. They all worked on a farm picking cotton working hard towards a better life. It means a lot to be needed and be an integral part of a family or clan.
It seems obvious to me there are so many children today that are not wanted. People have kids without thinking about the consequences of being there to support them. I realize divorce will happen and that not everyone can stay together. However, it’s a very good idea to look at what is going on in our country from an outside perspective. I travel a lot and something I have learned to do over the years when we have a catastrophe here is to read newspapers from abroad. I find it especially enlightening to read the papers in England as we are their bastard child and they look at us and find our obsession with guns to be comical. As I mentioned earlier I try to avoid media most of the time but when something like this happens it effects all of us. I read the perspective from Australia, Italy, Germany, and especially the Middle East.
In my situation I could have become bitter about being shot, but I didn’t. I held my head high and just kept on keeping on and doing what I love. If you are going to make your living in the entertainment business you better get ready for all kinds of hearsay and gossip. People with mundane lives talk and gossip. They do so because they are cheap and talk is cheap. That is precisely why I feel that gossip shows like TMZ and Perez Hilton are so pathetic and such crap. What has any of those clowns done besides stand around the water cooler and gossip?
Any jackass can kick down a barn, It takes a builder to build one. Which gets me to the point that I think we must look at as a society.
1. We do not need more laws
2. Gun’s do not kill people. Saying a gun kills someone is akin to saying that a pencil writes bad words. There is an important caveat here though. This is not as simple as it seems. Guns make it a lot easier to kill people. Look at the recent guy in China that went nuts and stabbed 22 elementary school children. He hurt a lot of people but was unsuccessful in killing them. It is not easy to kill a person. Life is a precious thing and does not give up easily. Look how often the state bungles executions. One thing we are going to have to take a real good look at is this- Not everyone has the maturity and the strong sense of responsibility that comes with owning a firearm. It is easier to acquire a gun in our country than it is a drivers license. If I had my own country I would make the two most prestigious and high paying professions teachers and police officers. What two professions have more of a profound effect on our society and our future?
Take a look at these alarming numbers:
“The U.S. is home to 270 million privately held guns, which equates to an average of nine guns per 10 people. (In second place, with roughly 1 gun for every two people, is Yemen, “a conflict-torn Arab nation still dealing with poverty, political unrest, a separatist Shia urgency, an al Qaeda branch, and the aftereffects of a 1994 civil war,” notes Max Fisher at The Washington Post.)”
It is no coincidence that the U.S. also boasts the highest rate of gun-related deaths among developed countries — an American is 20 times more likely to die at the hands of a gun then another member of the developed world. This is something we must look at.
3. This is not because God is mad because there is no prayer in schools. That is asinine and a pathetic attempt to explain the unexplainable. There are more wars and death that arise from religion than anything in this world. Here is the truth and it is time we embrace the ugly baby and go to the source of this mess.
I am not into platitudes as I agree with my friend John Aruzian that platitudes are often the obstacle to success. We can learn a lot from leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Thich Naht Hanh. Here is the core of what is going on in our country and this planet:
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment. He needs help.”
The guy that shot me doesn’t know me. It had nothing to do with me. If you want to get biblical here you could embrace the old axiom. What you do to others you do to yourself. He shot himself, he is in jail facing felony charges. He has to live with the consequences of his actions. We all do and that is why I call suicide by these individuals the ultimate act of cowardice and self sabotage.
Look at this latest incident as well as Columbine. Brian Warner who performs as Marilyn Manson said it best in Michael Moore’s documentary when Michael asked Brian “What would you have said to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold?” Brian said “I would not have said anything, I would have listened to them, no one else did”
Listen to the song “Heart of the Matter” by Don Henley. What a set of balls it took to write that song. The second verse begins with:
Ah…these times are so uncertain
There’s a yearning undefined
And people filled with rage
So true, yet some would call me a “bleeding heart liberal”, or a hippie or a whatever?
To them I say very bluntly “Wake the Fuck Up”
I am not being angry when I say this, I am being real. I don’t hold back and carry around resentment. I learned to be assertive in life and this is a great builder of self esteem. We are only seeing the beginnings of this if we do not learn empathy, forgiveness, and find the courage to embrace this ugly baby.
And this is one ugly baby.
It’s time to get real and leave our agenda’s and ego’s at the door. This is a very violent country and the only way this will ever change is when we surrender to what this is all about;
Forgiveness, that’s it.
You want to know why this happened?
It’s simple, as I said before: No person who loved themselves, felt loved, felt like they belonged and deeply loved other people and life would ever do this. People act out in violence and desperation because they are hurting themselves and give up. Look into any baby’s eyes. People are not born evil.
It is learned and no amount of prayer in schools and gun control laws and more jails and metal detectors will ever change that. Hate is everywhere and it is sickening. I know it first hand. All kinds of people hate on me and they don’t know me from a fucking hole in the wall. It’s OK, I forgive them and I don’t carry resentment towards anyone.
All hate means is “I don’t understand.”
I had my name dragged through the mud all for a bunch of bullshit that amounted to nothing. I kept my head high and forgave the person when they came to my door to apologize. These people are supposedly Christians and 8 years later the kooky brother comes to my door, tells me he is a fan of my music and then shoots me?
I have no resentment towards him and I forgive him. Something triggered him and is going on in his life that he looked around and decided that he could vent his rage out on me. It didn’t work, it never does and now he has to deal with the consequences.
Bullying has been a hot topic in our country and schools as well. There is the same principle at work here. Bullies keep pushing and pushing and picking on these kids till there is a tipping point. When they feel they are not wanted and finally act out it’s not pretty. If you look closely at the Columbine incident it has all the tell tale signs of the frustrations that lead to these incidents. Law enforcement professionals brilliantly point out that in most cases it is rare that these kids are forced to a “breaking point” and just snap. Their frustrations build over time and they start to plan and strategize their way out. Notice how in both Columbine and the Newport incidents the shooters amassed stock piles of weapons and enough ammo to do the job three times over. Even going as far to have backup firearms and ammo in their cars.
My heart goes out to the parents and victims of these horrific crimes. All of us are affected by this especially parents and teachers of the survivors as well. Just when you think the world couldn’t get any darker something like this happens. Believe me I am not a doom and gloom guy and I am definitely not a gun advocate. I don’t have a violent bone in my body and was raised to do unto others as I would want them to do to me. Having said all this I want to share a philosophy I learned from martial arts that is dear to me:
I cannot teach you violence as I do not believe in it. However I can teach you how to not bow your heads before anyone, even at the cost of your own life.
I grew up around guns and my father made sure they were never accessible in any way when we were children. When I learned to hunt and fish gun safety was emphasized over everything. I spent 20 years of my life in Jeet Kun Do and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and never had to use it. I have never been in a street fight. Everything I ever needed to prove I did in the Dojo with real tough guys in real tough situations. It’s time to take our country back, learn from all of this and most importantly learn to love ourselves and each other. There is entirely too much suffering in this world.