Issues come and go and that is to be expected. We don’t have long attention spans in a world full of attention-getting advertising and news delivered in 15 second dollops. We have been acculturated to mentally move on if, for no other reason, there is so much drivel backed up waiting to be downloaded into our brains, we have to. We are being force fed infotainment. I came to know that profoundly while living off the grid.
Living off the grid was always busy for us. Always. We had things to do and they all required learning and doing and physical work (which takes us longer as we age). Our days were full but were never jammed or hectic mentally. Our days were relaxing even when physically challenging.
Our days were also pretty balanced. We had first to dream, to think, prepare, work, maybe clean up and then review and then (often) repeat the process just to get the simplest of things done. The only demands were self-imposed. It was a natural pace of doing things. The big difference: we were only REACTIVE after we had had a chance to do it once. And, even then, our ‘reaction’ required re-thinking as well. And, even then, we reacted at our own pace.
The city is different. Most of the time you are instantly REACTIVE in the city. You are ‘reactive’ to schedules, traffic and, of course, the incessant demands of others for your attention. You do not take time to think. There is no time. Having a chance to think is, surprisingly, an option or a luxury – something that seems to disappear with urban immersion. Even the urbanite’s weekends are filled with ‘catching up’ on chores or social engagements. Spending time ‘contemplating’ becomes so rare as to disappear for many people.
I know that, for myself, I spent the bulk of twenty or thirty years in ‘reaction’ mode and my idea of ‘turning it off’ was to turn the TV on. And then I would ‘react’ to what was being aimed at me.
And again – in the city, at this writing, I am now almost fully booked for the next three weeks.
If you have any doubts about all this, ask yourself the following question: “What were the ten biggest news stories of the previous year (2013)”? Name one from 2011. Ask yourself what you did six months ago that was ‘different or out of the ordinary?” I hope you have some semblance of answers but most of us are on cruise control and it all blurs into a morass of nothing.
Well, it did for me, anyway.
But when you write a blog (or, better put: when I write a blog) I always start with, “What is in the back of my head?” I know what is up front and demanding but I want to consider what is still there and yet NOT getting my attention. Today it is police behaviour.
I think police behaviour has gone way, way out of control. And that is, collectively, an insidious act of social change – but we hardly notice. And that is just plain weird. I am making a guess here but I would opine that more people are killed by the police than by criminals in Canada.
Some old lady police protester in Ferguson, Missouri was quoted as saying, “The police are the biggest single danger to the security and safety of the populace in the USA!”
The other day the Vancouver police shot and killed a 57 year old man wielding a two by four standing in the middle of an intersection. Clearly mad. Admittedly, they first tried to subdue him with bean-bags from a shot gun but then they just shot him dead. What kind of ‘training’ is required if they resort to killing at the drop of a hat?
Then there was the 12 year old in some US city playing openly with a BB gun (pistol) and the police arrived and shot him dead within a second of their arrival. Seriously. NOT two seconds. No talking. No ‘get on the ground now!’ crap. They just pulled up and shot him from the car. Dead.
And that is something to think about. THAT is really something to think about. Why are ordinary men (they must be to get in to the police force, one should think…..) killing unarmed citizens to such an extent that it is creeping up the consciousnesses of even old ladies? And me?
More to the point – ask yourself how close you are to being screamed at (GET ON THE GROUND NOW!) and, not having a clue as to why the officer is ‘out of his mind’, responding with “what is the problem, officer? I’ve done nothing!” …..and then…..being shot? The possibility of that kind of madness is increasing.
If a Hell’s Angel walks up to you and appears angry, you might get a beating. If it’s a police officer, you might be killed.
Does that make any sense?