THE BODIES of two teenagers were found behind a supermarket in a suburb not too far from where we live. They each had one gunshot in the head.
My heart suddenly leaps into automatic mode. Was there a sign on them that said they were drug pushers? Could it have been a mistake?
Someone wrote: “Not all the killings here are drug-related.” As if that made a difference. It could be anyone, anywhere.
But wait, I’m in Georgia, and far away from home.
Has life now become so cheap that when we hear about a killing, we are no longer shocked? Are homicides just part of the landscape?
Guess what? Talk is even cheaper. Look at social media and listen to the chatter. It is maddening.
Facebook used to be a site where you found friends. Today it has become a virtual soapbox where the opportunity is offered free of charge to rant and rave, to seek and destroy enemies, especially those with a differing political stand.
Does this sound familiar? Weren’t we part of this ugly scene only a few months ago? Remember the trolls?
You need no license or permit to participate. You just make up your own weapons or simply join those who are out to dismember an opponent’s honor and reputation.
Once in a while, you still find a sweet story about a baby or maybe a dog. Some people post jokes. There’s a birthday and you join the celebration. A fireman adopted a homeless boy. These tales touch the heart and, for a moment, you believe that staying on is still worthwhile.
Lately, however, Facebook has become an arena of violent combat. Most of the items posted are political in nature and aimed at the merciless destruction of personalities and the mutilation of their good names. No one is sacred. Everyone is fair game.
It is difficult not to take sides or react. But if you do, you must understand that you have just declared it open season for more of the same. The copy-paste gang and other cyberspace groupies who post anything without bothering to check or verify will haunt you.
I have learned, much to my dismay, that many vicious items have been carelessly posted by people I know and care about, friends who have unwittingly and often not too wisely even added their own two cents’ worth.
The name-calling is horrifying. Crook. Devil. Liar. Thief. Bully. Narcissist. Racist. Sexist. Moron. Bully. These are the ones we can print.
Will it get worse? You can bet your last dollar on that.
The presidential elections here are not until November. There are still 92 days left before the votes are cast. Will spreading the garbage help the voters? I doubt it.
I am all for free speech. I am passionate about freedom of information. But this is ridiculous.
Consider this. Is the news on TV accurate? Or is it true that no one tells you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but on TV anymore? Did they ever? I am told it all depends on your network of choice. Really?
By the way, not all posts on Facebook are reliable, either. Have you noticed how only minutes after you read a shocking article, someone else quickly comes online to deny, debunk and discredit it? What then can you believe?
The fireworks have not died down since the two big conventions. There is no let-up in the torrent of stories and scandals that have surfaced. The truth has become so distorted that it is now nearly impossible to recognize it.
This really upsets me. I need a cup of chamomile tea.
Sleepless in Atlanta!
What an angry world we live in. Nothing is as it should be.
Everyone talks about wanting change and rejecting the status quo. But we refuse to see that the change we seek must come from each one of us, from deep within our hearts.
And so every night I go to bed with a troubled heart, and I spend hours staring at the ceiling. But sleep is elusive.
The other night, I was aimlessly surfing the channels and found “Man of La Mancha” with Peter O’Toole and Sofia Loren. I reached for the Kleenex box as the music found my tears and urged my soul to soar again.
This was just what I needed. In this time of vulgarity and inelegant language, it was like a cool balm on an aching heart. And as I listened to “The Impossible Dream” (for the umpteenth time in my life) it was difficult not to weep.
“To dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go.
To right the unrightable wrong, to love pure and chaste from afar.
To try when your arms are too weary to reach the unreachable star.
This is my quest: to follow that star,
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far;
to fight for the right without question or pause
to be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause.
And I know if I’ll only be true to this glorious quest,
that my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I’m laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this;
that one man, scorned and covered with scars,
still strove with his last ounce of courage,
to reach the unreachable star.”
I am compelled to ask: What is our glorious quest?