I’ve been struggling for about a week now thinking about how to proceed with this blog. It’s my blog and I can’t say for sure who reads it all the time (aside from family and close friends). However, I am very conscious about what I want to write about and how to provide content that I think is worth posting and reading. If I had it my way, I’d love to stick to writing tips, movie/tv reviews, etc. That would be fun and hopefully entertaining to not just me. Unfortunately, I am very present in the happenings of the world and cannot continue to keep those things from my thoughts and furthermore from my blog.
Now, I have stated in the past that I have no interest in debating or converting based on my personal views. They are “my” personal views based on my experiences, beliefs, and understanding. This also means I do not think I cannot learn more and have these views changed based on evidence and conviction. Let’s jump in the heap!
Evil is very real. In fantasy, we have great extremes manifested in forms like Sauron, Voldemort, and for you Wheel of Time fans, the Dark One. All of these represent the deepest of antagonists to our literary heroes: Frodo, Harry Potter, and Rand al’Thor (again, Wheel of Time reference. I am purposely avoiding the Game of Thrones example, ha!). These forces represent the main conflict and must be destroyed in order to assure peace to not only our heroes but the world they live in. This puts a lot of weight on the story and we as readers only want to see the evils defeated by the end.
A common element in fantasy right now is the use of grey characters who have both vice and virtues equally. These are men and women we can both trust and revile depending on the situation. Part of me enjoys these characters because I think they are complex and better represent real life people. No one can say they are completely good, having no drop of selfishness, anger, hate, etc. And while these kinds of characters can be fresh and enjoyable to read due to their unpredictability, I personally expect to see consequences for their choices. Otherwise, we’ve run into another issue entirely. Consequences whether good or bad represent reality and realism should be woven throughout the tapestry of the story (even more so in fantasy).
Coming back to the reason I am writing this post, I do not think I should be silent on the evil seen in the last weeks of various independent acts throughout the States. Las Vegas, New York, and Sutherland, TX. I am not going to go into the details of each situation. If you’ve paid attention even a little bit, then you know the basics: men took it upon themselves to kill innocents.
My heart is broken at the moment. I take days to process the full weight of these things because I don’t find it healthy to react instantly. My heart breaks for those affected. Families and friends have lost loved ones unexpectedly and for reasons they cannot fathom as they grieve. There’s been a lot of hubbub about people offering prayers and thoughts to these people whose worlds have been turned over. I sincerely say and express these words because I sincerely believe there is power in prayer and thought directed at the healing of pain and grief. If you don’t, that’s fine. I would not hold that against you and would hope you would not hold my beliefs against me.
What we’ve witnessed is evil (plain and simple) and if we can draw anything from these recent horrifying events, it’s that no matter the method or tool used, evil will find a way to exact its violence and chaos. I’ve been asking myself what can be done to keep these things from happening but after days of contemplation I am truly not convinced legislation cannot stop it. So long as evil’s influence and madness can burn in the hearts of people, methods and tools can be improvised upon (gun, knife, vehicle, they all do damage).
For myself, at this moment in time, I come to a place where I think more than ever, we need to be vigilant about being aware of evil. How? By the signs it effuses. If you’ve ever taken any kind of Active Shooter Training for a workplace environment, then you are told what to look for. Changes in behavior are often there. Now, I know there are likely outliers (there always are) but all too often, evil and its signs can be seen and recognized. But we have to be willing to pay attention and speak up when noticed. More and more, after these horrifying acts of evil and violence, we learn after the fact that there were “red flags” and yet no one acted.
I understand that many will say this is not enough and that legislation needs to be implemented to prevent further incidents but I am not convinced of that yet. I’m not saying some legislation could not help because I think it could, but I have to posit the question: can legislation prevent evil from being enacted? No. It just can’t. Time and time again, those who wish to do others harm will do so in any which way that they can. History testifies to this. Good standing citizens, however, can and are more than capable of interceding and preventing evil if we are willing to pay attention to those within our communities.
I am demanding this of myself. It’s obvious safe places no longer exist. Churches, concerts, sidewalks. If these horrible acts of evil can teach us anything, it’s that we need to be paying attention to the world around us more. Take an interest in your family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. I have to hope that doing so will in some way prevent more evil from being carried out.
Call to Action: Don’t react out of emotion when these horrible acts of evil happen. I only say this because I see it every day. So many react without taking a moment to ask questions. Reach out and talk to someone you trust and work through whatever emotions have stirred up. Adding to the vitriol does nothing to propel us forward, instead setting us back.