I was reading a local newspaper yesterday over lunch and I stumbled across something that made me froth with rage. No, it wasn’t because someone else was complaining about how Puerto Ricans are ruining this country (which is hysterical, considering Puerto Ricans are Americans), but an article recounting how some poor bastard got jumped and beaten on an evening walk because a couple of people in the local community thought he looked like a sexual predator, based on one of those asinine Facebook messages that make their way across the internet like a virtual venereal disease.
How fucking stupid can people get? Has the American public learned nothing from the whole Trayvon Martin disaster? Apparently not, because there are people out there who still don’t know what the big deal is about idiots taking the law into their own hands. I’m actually incredibly surprised that this poor schmuck who got his ribs broken wasn’t shot as well – Pennsylvania’s gun laws are even more lax than Florida’s, where you’re literally allowed to walk around with a gun on your hip like it’s the Old West in 90% of the Commonwealth – but it just rustles my jimmies that there are people so completely clueless out there that they let themselves get whipped up into a frenzy over a spurious Facebook status update.
Have people forgotten how to use their god damned minds, much less a modicum of restraint when it comes to dealing with possible problems? Have we really devolved as a civilization to the point where nobody gives a fuck about rational fucking discourse and not jumping to conclusions and looking at every possible point of conflict as something that can be measured by taking sides and just beating each other into bloody fucking pulps? This black-and-white “you’re either with us or agin’ us” type of Manichean binarity needs to stop and people need to work together to build consensus instead of running off and just beating someone’s skull in.
Don’t get me wrong; sometimes there are instances when the judicial application of force might be required. But for fuck’s sake, force should be the last resort of a civilized society, not the first knee-jerk reaction you jump to. Embracing your anger isn’t just a quick trip to the Dark Side – there are consequences for flipping your shit, least of which you could end up doing something so colossally stupid, irresponsible, and downright wrong that you might find yourself responsible for the death or physical injuries of another person.
What causes this? Is it some selfish, solipsistic predilection on humanity’s part to not look past one’s own nose and realize that there are other people out there in the world that are thinking, feeling human beings with their own lives, their own needs and desires? People with families and friends that love them?
Sometimes I just feel like we’re a species of complete and utter assholes, contemptible and irredeemable, all just shitting over everyone and everything we can possibly find, and people who are genuinely trying to make the world a better place can’t shovel hard enough or fast enough to keep up with the mountains of excrement that keep piling up all over the place. I mean you can’t even go for a fucking walk any more without wondering if some paranoid lunatic put a warning out on Facebook for someone that kind of looks like you and who might be leering at children from the front seat of their panel van? Have people gotten that dumb and petty, or should I just be grateful that we’re not having crusades and inquisitions or witch trials any more?
Seriously, it costs so very, very little to not be a total and complete douche nozzle 100% of the time. I’m not even talking about Bernie Madoff or Dick Cheney levels of dickbaggery, either – I’m talking about the simple things that everyone has been guilty of from time to time (some of us more than others) like, oh, I don’t know, being rude, inconsiderate, selfish, self-absorbed, or unhappy unless you ruin someone else’s day because you’ve been dealing with other people’s shit all day as well.
One of the main reasons I literally had a nervous breakdown working for that call center a couple years ago is because it was the kind of job where I was subject to a constant stream of invective and spite from people from the moment I took my first phone call to the moment I stood up at the end of the day to log off my console. Dealing with that kind of crystallized petty hatred over something so truly inconsequential – like whether you were able to set your DVR to record the latest episode of Dry Humping With The Stars – simply erodes the human soul.
Experiencing emotions like fear, anger and frustration can be upsetting in the extreme. However, this doesn’t give you the right to spread these emotions among other people, just to give yourself a temporary respite from how hollow and miserable you’re feeling in your own life. Instead of being a completely antagonistic fucknut, why not take all that energy you’re devoting to making the people around you ready to either hang themselves or commit aggravated assault on your impossibly unbearable ass and put it towards making yourself a better person? You know, finding better ways to deal with your negative emotions than lashing out at others – whether it be some stranger walking along on the street minding his own business, or some 17 year old kid in a hoodie that you think might be up to no good because he’s black.