American Rollie Pollies

I was walking to work this morning and saw a number of rollie pollies. You know, the bugs that, when scared or threatened, roll up into a little ball. When I was a kid, I used to sit there and watch the terrified little creatures curl up as I poked at them with a stick, not really understanding the cruelty in what I was doing.

Now that I’ve heard another dose of bad national news, I am beginning to empathize with the rollie pollies.

Let’s add up all the crappy things that have happened this week: Boston bombings, the ricin attacks, the failure to pass even the most pathetic of gun control legislation, and now the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas.

Yup, I’ve grouped them all together, because they all totally suck. The gun thing is a self-inflicted wound, and one we cannot seem to do anything to heal. The Boston attack was an act of extreme cowardice and hatred. The Texas thing was a horrible accident. And the ricin thing was merely the work of someone deranged enough to think that the President opens his own mail.

All of these things combined to make me want to curl up into a little ball and hide from the world. The thing is, that is absolutely the wrong course of action for a human being to take. For in the face of such hatred, such cowardice and lunacy, those of us who are rational and capable must dust ourselves off and vow to do better. To be better. To create a better world.

We may never be able to prevent an accident like the one in West, Texas. But we can vow to improve the safety of all of our industrial facilities to prevent this from happening again.

We might not be able to prevent the despicable actions of the madmen involved in the Boston tragedy, but we can vow to care more about our fellow countrymen, and vow to never play the blame game that happened almost immediately afterwards, a game used to stereotype groups of ethnic and religious minorities as terrorists. (As if homegrown, white terrorism doesn’t exist in America.)

We can’t stop crazy people from trying to hurt others, but we can try to make our nation one where those who need help get it, instead of lashing out like the guy who sent those poisonous packages.

And finally, we may not be able to prevent mass murders like the one in Newtown, CT. But we can make it harder for crazy people to own guns and make assault weapons harder to procure for everyone. Apparently, common sense gun control measures are impossible with this Congress. But we can change that, too. And I’m going to try in an effort to prevent not only the next Newtown, but also the next Oakland, the next Mission, the next New York, the next Chicago, and the next everywhere gun violence plagues our nation.

We’ve got issues, people. But don’t be a rollie pollie. You’re bigger than that.

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