Letter: America's skewed values breed anger, violence

America's skewed values breed anger, violence

To the editor:

When a mass shooting gains media attention, people are left befuddled as to how such a thing can happen in the world. However, it would be surprising if these acts of violence were not happening. An honest introspection would easily show that many of these shooters have been thoroughly effected by America's prevailing value system of competition (the Law of the Jungle) and retribution (getting even).

People are not seen as unique individuals, each with a spark of the Divine within them, with talents and skills to be shared for the benefit of the whole, but simply as disposable people to be used and discarded for someone else's benefit in a society that has become so deformed by competition that it is more worthy of being called a gladiatorial arena then a civilization. There isn't much civil about conflict. And when someone is perceived as harming us in some way or does something wrong often retribution is sought: scores need to be settled, it's time to execute, or bomb, or act out in some other overtly or passively aggressive way.

As mentally or emotionally disturbed as many mass shooters may be, they often have an underlying grievance with a competitive society they feel (right or wrong) has left them powerless, mistreated and disenfranchised. So they get revenge, harming innocent people they see as representing that society.

Much of America acts well within the prevailing value system of competition and retribution. What we don't act within are our ideals: brotherhood, love, unity (which can only exist in the greatest diversity, likeness doesn't need unifying), oneness, justice, and peace on earth. That's because we don't universally value those ideals or simply hold them as too Utopian to be achieved. And, of course, as long as we continue to value competition and retribution, which reinforces divisiveness and creates conflict and stresses that leads to continued violence, those high ideals never will be achieved.

If we value our highest ideals then we must work to rid the world of what prevents their manifestation – competition, greed, selfishness, personal and nationalistic ambition, and divisiveness. The world could easily be unified as we share the world's bounty of food and resources, instead of competing for them at other people's expense, and work for one another's benefit.

Solutions to long-standing and seemingly insurmountable man-made problems will be found with surprising ease. People around the world will feel, sadly some for the very first time, that life has meaning, a sense of belonging and know they are an important part of society. As the reasons that cause conflict and stress are removed, the violence they cause will come to an end.

Jason Francis, Clarksburg


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