The golden rule…

22 people were injured when an obviously trouble student started stabbing people at his high school in Pennsylvania the other day. You’d need to be hiding under a rock not to know about this.

I’ve guided this site, over the past few months, to a narrower focus on fitness and health. So it might seem odd to my readers to see me write about a current news event that is wrapped up in a rather charged social issue – the level of violence in our society. I believe, very strongly, that health and fitness are more than just nutrition and exercise. If you don’t care for your mental, emotional and, for lack of a better term, spiritual wellness it won’t matter a bit how many pull-ups you can do, what size clothes you wear or how long you live.

The issue of violence in America weighs on all of us. It impacts our choices. For instance, there’s a elderly lady who frequents the gym I go to. She doesn’t lift weights, or use the treadmills, or swim in the pool. She goes to the gym to walk. She walks endless laps around the facility. I asked one of the trainers about her one day and she told me this woman pays for a gym membership so she can walk where she feels safe. Hearing that was painful. This particular gym resides in one of the most affluent communities in America, with a crime rate so low as to be nearly non-existent, particular as relates to crimes against elderly women. It’s also a beautiful place to walk, with paved trails, gorgeous tree-lined streets and fantastic parks. But this lady is afraid of all of those places, so she walks in circles inside of a concrete box. That’s behavior that’s driven by fear. It’s irrational fear, but it’s understandable given that a kid walked into his school with knives and tried to hurt as many people as he could the other day.

The previous week a soldier flipped his wig and murdered three of his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood. Last year two young men blew up a bomb that injured dozens at the Boston Marathon, and months before that a mentally ill young man murdered his mother and then went to an elementary school and opened fire on small children and teachers. And let’s not forget the daily violence of the poor communities in American, both in the inner cities and the rural south.

It’s easy to see how someone could become frightened, and how that fear could make you do something daft like walk in circles inside of a building. Another thing frightened people do is get angry. Angry people tend to take their anger out on others in one way or another. Most folks aren’t interested in physical confrontations, but those do happen. What’s far more common, and facilitated by this impersonal internet culture we live in, are verbal tirades, insults and diatribes. I’ve done it. I bet you have to.

It’s so easy to lash out online at someone. It’s easy to forget that you’re interacting with a human being, who has feelings. It’s equally easy to ascribe malicious intent to a phantom who you only know exists via an avatar on Facebook.

A friend posted a link to this post from the Chief of the Brimfield, OH Police Department. Chief Oliver sums it up well:

Good Afternoon,

A little while ago, I posted about the tragic stabbings of students at a high school in Pennsylvania. We post info like that incident (and also officers being killed) as a notice for mourning and reflection. Soon after, the insults and innuendos started, with words like “conservative” “liberal,” “it wasn’t a gun” and “arm the teachers.” Here is some unsolicited advice. Do with it what you will. If it does not apply to you, then ignore it.

Until we, as adults, learn to stop being angry, insulting each other and picking fights every chance we get, how in heck can we expect our kids to behave any differently? I guarantee, if you are an Internet troll, generally angry and surly and by all appearances hate the human race, the children around you will act no better than what you are modeling. We have to be the examples for those who are still growing.

If you want another opinion, here you go. Until adults start leading and acting like adults, we are just spinning our wheels. There is no perfect political party, no perfect way to peel a banana, and no perfect person. Adults insulting each other and cramming political views in our ears in a constant barrage of “the world is ending,” is only making the kids in our society more stressed and angry.

In a case like this awful stabbing incident at a HIGH SCHOOL….pipe down and let the people mourn. Be there for them, but be quiet unless there is something helpful to say.

My apologies for being direct. It’s sort of my thing.

Carry on….Chief Oliver.

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