Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Let there be light

The tragic shooting in Connecticut has left me thinking a lot about the perpetration of violence and how awful people can be to each other. Big, dramatic things like the shooting make me think about all of the other (relatively) little things that have been happening over time, and it's like, Wow, violence is just constant. From hearing about assaults on women in NewHolly to that gang shooting in Skyway with an innocent boy killed in the crossfire, sometimes it feels relentless.

These problems aren't "fixable." That's what's so frustrating about it. Stricter gun control laws aren't magically going to end violence, even if by some miracle they were passed and enforced nation-wide. As with drugs, illegalizing something more often than not simply creates a black market that's just as vibrant and thriving.

Society is sick. Typical news fodder these days is all about speculating about the Connecticut gunman: Why did he do it? How could this have been prevented? I know people are heartbroken and want to do something, but policy-wise, it's already a clusterf**k.
  1. Deinstitutionalization. Since our nation decided it was "unethical" to keep people with severe mental health diagnoses "penned up" in mental hospitals, outpatient treatment (even if it's involuntary) is inadequate at best. This article sums up the complexity of the MH system pretty well. 
  2. Gun control. Just think about all of the people already that posess guns (with a license, I'm not even talking about illegal aquisitions). Even if guns were to be banned for commercial sale, there's still be that many guns out there, okay? It's like prescription drugs--guns are super easy to access; just tap a family member's "stash." There will still be hella guns even with strict gun control! K. Just think about it.
  3. Is this a gender issue? The perpetrators of violent shootings resorted to that form of violence because they "couldn't deal," or so it seems to be the case. Re the Huffington Post article above: "According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman." Could it be that men, socialized not to express emotions (or de-incentivized to express emotions) haven't the skills nor the socially-acceptable outlets of frustration that women have? Have they been socialized to use violence as a means to express themselves? To be honest, this is frightening. Again, HUGE cultural/systemic issue here that can't be fixed with a wave of a wand.
I don't mean to be a downer nihilist, but violence of this nature is not new. Granted, the maginitude may seem shocking and graphic, but how can we forget the many underreported genocides that have occurred throughout history and are occurring today? (0_0) I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a doomsday enthusiast, but I've kind of resigned myself to the fact that there will always be a certain amount of horrible, awful things happening somewhere in the world at any given time. So I'm not, like, shocked when people post headlines of atrocious happenings on their Facebook timeline.

This past Sunday at church our worship leader had us stand up and hold hands with the people next to us while we sang the closing songs of the morning's service. I was legitimately crying, man. I mean, we live in a world where men massacre seven year olds and girls in Africa undergo genital mutilation and vulnerable teens are sex trafficked and yet--and in bold defiance of these atrocities, 200+ people stood hand in hand in a sanctuary singing praise to God.

Cuz, you see...even though there are days when it feels like violence and chaos are going to take over everything I hold dear, I am of the persuasion that in the long run, love will prevail. Just as long as people continue to be brave and forbid that tragedy turn them into bitter and cynical people, there is hope yet.

"The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn't put it out" (John 1, MSG).

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


The honeymoon phase is over. Are you bored of hearing about my job? Well, here's another post about my job.

I am self-conscious about complaining about work, mostly because of guilt. I mean, at least I have a job, so I shouldn't complain about it. However, I'm currently weighing the decision of whether or not to apply for the permanent position. In this respect, it'd be prudent to take a measured, comprehensive analytical view of the costs and benefits of my current work situation.

What has recently been tough about this job is the heavy workload. There are times when I'm juggling six "urgent" tasks at the same time. My desk is covered in papers, my inbox is a mess and my pupils are dilated--evidence of my fight/flight stress response system hard at work. Thanks, sympathetic nervous system. My position is a strange paradox because although I'm working for the director of the division, and am therefore powerful by this relation, I'm still a secretary. So basically my job is to make HIS job easier. I'm also doing a lot of supportive work with the human resources department.

The high level of stress is taxing my mental health. It's tough to fall asleep at night and I occasionally am afflicted with a throbbing stress headache. This makes me reluctant to even apply for the permanent position. The pay may be nice but at what cost? At what cost? (I forget what movie I'm referencing here, but I know you'll forgive me.)

Furthermore, I'm balking a bit on graduate school. I just don't know if I'll be able to stomach the academic culture so soon after finishing undergraduate work. I've been told not to confuse the people (students) with the actual area of study (public administration), but really, the people kind of make or break it for me. I squirm at the idea of spending the next two years of my life surrounded by passionate and well-intentioned, but entirely stuffy and self-important people. I just don't know if I can do it.

I know that being in the ivory tower of academia would be temporary, but it's absolutely maddening to be so removed from real-world problem-solving and I just finished putting up with four years of this nonsense.

Ugh, so tired of thinking about thinking. Meta overload.

I'm just going to scrawl out some fanfiction in a little corner and hide forever.