That hard discipline is part of emotional maturity, which seems to be in short supply. Facebook feeds the very untrammeled and uncontrolled rage that so many feel just beneath the surface. Discipline is what we earn through road rash, and the cost of hurting those we have flailed with our fury. Some just don’t care.
This is a bit of dialogue from Tombstone, one of my favorite movies:
Wyatt Earp: What makes a man like Ringo, Doc? What makes him do the things he does? Doc Holliday: A man like Ringo has a great empty hole through the middle of him. He can never kill enough, or steal enough, or inflict enough pain to ever fill it. Wyatt Earp: What does he need? Doc Holliday: Revenge. Wyatt Earp: For what? Doc Holliday: Being born.
In so many ways, I think that sums it up in some ways for so many- revenge for being born. So many people believe they are owed (in many ways thanks to our marketing machines) and so many around them are so disengaged that they feel invisible. A piece of me has to wonder if we are creating a brand new level of rage via social media, or if the social media is a silent partner to it and simply a conduit, or, perhaps, social media just unleashed something we all carry like a virus. It allows it to grow, spread and overwhelm. Without the hard work and discipline to tame this particular beast it just gets worse- which it has.
This kind of rage exists in a great many people, people living in a country where there is no hope, people with excellent educations facing no future, people living in a economy where no matter how hard they work they will never, ever be able to afford a home, a car, or healthcare. Rage has a place. Sometimes it saves our life or the life of another.
And sometimes rage costs us our lives. That is what I fear. The more we feel free to voice the viciousness of rage pointed at, well, anyone and everyone in general, we have mass shootings. Or mass killings. What, you didn’t get the job? Take out the entire kindergarten. That’ll show ’em. That’s what concerns me the most. Or we take it out on our families and kids and fill them full of rage. It cascades downhill like sewage. The less people make an effort to understand their pain, the easier it is to simply take it out online or outside- whoever happens to be in the way.
As for being a vet, thanks, “Top.” I was enlisted and an officer. A mustang, actually. I had one single little medal that made me a hair above whale poop after I became a butter bar. My best friend for years, whom I met during one of the last WAC classes to go through Anniston, Alabama, was also a mustang. She went on to become an Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security. Advised the Secretary of Defense on his private plane. Um…. I was just happy to finish my college degree. It was an interesting ride. And thank you for your service, too, Tom.