Friday, December 14, 2012

Ramblings from sad things

I'm so angry tonight. I don't usually post things like this, but this blog has evolved {fallen to the wayside} and I need to process some things. And writing is how I process, so here it is. I'm angry and rambling, and so I reserve the right to change my mind on all of it, but this is how I feel now.

Today, a horrible, tragic thing happened. Today a man, no--still a BOY, went into a school and did the unthinkable. The unthinkable--and I really mean that. My own mind tries to get there, to understand. Considers the terror those parents felt, considers the gripping, life-altering fear those sweet, sweet babies endured, pictures them holding hands to make it out of those corridors with their eyes closed {thank God for the first-responders who came to their aide and in the midst of that carnage still sought to protect their tattered innocence}. My brain tries to go there and it can't, it send the message to start the tears and then it shuts the door and turns away.


And now will roll out the debates: ban guns; arm teachers; eliminate HIPPA for mental health providers; provide universal mental health care; etc. etc. etc. Everyone has an opinion about policy or politics about how to "fix" this. 

I don't know the answer, but I don't think we'll ever find it until we know the cause. And for that I think we are to blame. I think it's all of us right here in our homes. To be honest, I think we in the U.S. are mighty good at CREATING mental health problems in our children by this repeated exposure to violence and pornography. We aren't just desensitizing them. You can be desensitized to violence and not wander into a school or a mall or a movie theater and massacre people. We are allowing our children to create pathways to PLEASURE through violent and explicit content. We are allowing them to depart from reality, from the nuance of relationships, physical and emotional connection and delve into a world of constant input and gratification. We are desensitizing them to LIFE through the types of media we expose them to, and because they have used violent and provocative media to tread down the pathway again and again, that's what we know and that's what we begin to seek on more intense levels. 

Pornography perverts sex--it makes it an object, it requires no love, no communication, no romance. It's about self, it's about pleasure for nothing, and soon it requires more of you to create those feelings--more of your time, more of your thoughts, more objectification, more misogyny, more violence. 

Video games are made to give or require input from a player on average every few SECONDS. They are designed to require a deepening level of commitment at each stage. They function around the idea that we must commit ourselves to the world they have created. What then, when the game no longer elicits that physical reaction? What when the player must seek out something MORE to FEEL? 

We are letting, teaching, our children to ENJOY violence. This is our punishment for allowing children to vicariously seek pleasure through the imagined act of killing. They become addicted to that feeling and as with all addictions, they can get away from us until the old high no longer satisfies.

It happens on so many levels--kids who sass and check out b/c school is more "boring" than television. The person who checks facebook too often. The parents that let their five-year-old watch the war movie with them because they think he's too young to "get it." The college student who only responds to in-person questions through text; the apartments I walk by every night with four girls sitting in the living room only talking to each other through facebook; the kid who can't make it to the freaking grocery store without asking for a movie on the minivan DVD player, the mom who ignores her kid to read Shades of Grey, ...etc, etc. etc. {I myself am guilty--the great debate lately here has been that I want my three- and five-year-olds to watch Star Wars. In his wisdom, Rob has disallowed it. I've taught my daughter to tell me not to answer my phone when it rings while I drive because I found myself using the car as phone time, putting my own precious children's lives at risk. I avoid housework to talk with friends online. There are levels and SO MANY of us are guilty of the attachment to things that are not real, the enticing aspect of media and technology.} 

Am I saying that mental health doesn't play a part in these things? No. That armed teachers or stricter gun laws or better healthcare or metal detectors or self-defense classes or anything else won't help? No.

 What I mean is that we sure are damn good at building a society that creates the perfect storm to make sick people sicker. Parents have a responsibility to PROTECT their children. In this world, that unfortunately means from guns and bad guys. But it also means to protect them from the things that steal away their innocence, virtually or otherwise. 

That's all. I'm tired and my heart is sad, and maybe the world will be brighter tomorrow--at least for those of us who were lucky this time and will see our precious babies, smelling of sleep and dreams, wake up at least once more.  :(