‘Make this life free and beautiful’

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It was with a heavy heart that I wrote the column for the last issue of Current this year.

I wanted to write something spirited about this time of year, but I would be remiss to ignore two pieces of national news: the shootings in Oregon and Connecticut.

I won’t debate the points of gun control, the second amendment and the ideologies behind them. Back in my days with the Scouts, I enjoyed trap and target shooting, but I don’t think the old .410 shotgun has been dusted off in quite a few years. The fact is, I’m not hyper-connected to why some gun owner’s treasure that right.

The question on my mind is: What drives people to do things like this?

Obviously, if any one of us had the ultimate answer to that question, there would be no such thing as violence.

We’ve come so far, and then a handful of people show just how frail life is – that no matter how much we build, there are people out there willing to destroy.

I think of a speech that was made some time ago. Charlie Chaplin delivered a more than three-minute long oration at the end of the 1940 film “The Great Dictator.”

His character is mistaken for a parody of Adolf Hitler, and he takes the pulpit to deplore hatred, violence and apathy for others.

He states:  “Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.”

He speaks of how technology brings people together, and, somewhat prophetically, technology has shrunken the world even more.

Now is a time to come together and work toward a solution to our society’s problem, as well as call for an even-handed discussion that doesn’t devolve into sound-bites and pundits pandering to their respective audiences.

Going forward, I’m going to try to forego my own mindset on the topic and try to understand the issue on a national level.

Chaplin continues: “You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then, in the name of democracy, let us use that power! Let us all unite! Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth the future and old age a security.”

Coffee hours are cancelled for this week, as well as New Years. Please feel free to contact me at dan@youarecurrent.com or @CI_Fishers on Twitter for concerns, news tips, or heck, if you’d just like to say hi. Enjoy the holidays!

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