Controlled Chaos

This is the world we live in, and it fucking terrifies me sometimes. If its not school shootings, its mass shootings, if its not that its bombings or terrorist attacks or wars driving people out their home countries and throwing them into lives of poverty as refugees. Sure we have a million and one things to distract us now, but there are times where I’ll hear about a current event, or read something, or hear it from a friend, and I can’t help but wonder. The world wasn’t like this when I was a kid, or maybe I just didn’t notice… I was near DC during 9/11. That’s something you don’t forget and I think that’s when I started paying more attention to what was going on in the world outside my social circle…to an extent anyway. I really do try to keep an open mind when it comes to a lot of things, but putting the lives of young boys and girls in danger? I usually refrain from posting my personal opinion on these matters on social media. However, this last shooting at the Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida hit a chord with me as I had family that grew up in that area and went to school there.

Now a youth with a messed up mind decides to bring a AR-15 to his school and start shooting up the place, killing seventeen people, can this really be prevented? If there’s a will, there’s a way the saying goes. Making stricter laws or banning guns in civilian communities…. these are all measures that COULD be taken (but obviously aren’t..) but is it enough? I was discussing the event with my brother and he made a very good point. Many schools have adopted this shooting drill, especially after this last tragedy, the worst of its kind since 2012 according to BBC. Has anyone ever thought that the afflicted kid is might just be in one of those classes? They drill them on what to do, where to go, where to run and hide. I read an article about a father who turned in his own daughter after reading her journal and discovering plans to bomb her school. Nowadays you can make a bomb out of almost anything. If this girl has been through one of these drills and knows where her classmates and teachers will gather? Who’s to say she wouldn’t have planned in accordance?

The next generation of young americans (among others for various reasons) are being raised in fear, in an era of over-information. I remember back when I was in elementary/middle/high school (and I attended grade school in the US, Korea, and Greece) I enjoyed fire drills, or earthquake drills. Yeah ok, there was the “urgency” of it, the importance in knowing how to act and what to do in those situations. Then we’d gather in groups and it was fun trying to find our friends and talk without getting caught (before the times of smartphones I’m proud to say) But that was it. Natural phenomena or accidental fires (or intentional for that matter) are one thing, but shooting drills? Most of us only encounter gunfire in the movies, I’ve never personally feared at any point that I might be shot upon. Now kids are being prepared for just that. Be aware. It triggers something in their still developing brains that I (my generation) didn’t really have growing up– something along the lines of the survival instinct. Especially when these kids are students at schools where these shootings occur, and are then expected to return after a respectful period of mourning. That can cause some psychological damage to a young man or woman.

I live in the center of Athens, Greece. I see people scavenging the dumpsters for anything that might be reusable, or in some cases edible (*shudder*). It saddens me, but I do what I can when I can. What blows my mind is right up the street from that scavenger, theres a school letting out and kids on their way to public transit stops to get home. Walking right past him as if he wasn’t even there. There’s another street near where I live, during the day theres a nice park there actually, but at dusk refugees and homeless and junkies alike gather, and light their fires now that it’s winter. Then 100m further up there’s a bus stop with pedestrians going about their own business, as if theres nothing tragic going on a little further down the road. It is was it is it seems. Meanwhile cops are always patrolling the area, and yet I’ve never seen them get cleared out, they just drive by, make sure everyone’s calm, not causing trouble, and keeping to themselves. Those two images are burnt into my brain, two completely different lifestyles existing in one plane, I could take a picture of it, and you could see the scavenger digging for trash as the children wander past, full of hope, unaware yet of what’s going on in the world, everything is simple. Not for that scavenger though, god only knows what he’s been through to get him to this point, perhaps even of his own doing. Still, life goes on…one picture, a million words.

Despite all this controlled chaos, life goes on.

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