Recently saw a meme somewhere with a picture of Matt Groenings "Bender" looking angry and mean. Caption read: I say the whole world must learn of our peaceful way of life...By FORCE!
This morning I awakened to learn that Al Shabaab, essentially Islamic State in a different pail, has distinguished itself yet again by attacking a University in Kenya with great effectiveness. Final tally, unknown but likely in the hundreds killed and or injured. Imagining the families and friends of the victims, imagining the parents anguish, parents in many cases making personal sacrifices so their children could have better lives as a result of higher education, I felt the anger rise somewhere deep down inside.
These shooters, do they have the slightest inkling of exactly who they are killing and or wounding? Rather doubtful that any of the students were even known by any of the gunmen. So you walk into a university, pick targets and open fire, almost like in a video game, but with more noise, more screaming and realistic smells. The tragedy of having these promising bright young people struck down for no valid reason is deeply affecting. And doubtless the world will react in anger, as it is known to do. And the pattern of violence will continue.
And yet, the thought occurs, if all this destruction were the result of a volcano, an earthquake or perhaps a tsunami, there would be no human to blame and the only emotion would be grief or for some, anger towards God, whom it is more difficult to retaliate against. When "Natural" tragedies occur, life-saving, humanitarian efforts are marshalled, people grieve the loss and try to build with what remains and that is about the end of it.
A human-designed, deliberate tragedy is another thing altogether, and although it could be treated in a similar fashion, the desire for revenge or justice: both eyes for an eye and for a tooth, the whole face, takes over. Natural tragedy: grief. Deliberately human-caused tragedy: grief and anger.
Anger is definitely an appropriate response to the sort of needless violence mentioned above. In fact, if it is not there, something may be amiss with your moral compass! But what really is anger but a sudden influx of adrenalin, a sort of high-octane fuel designed to provide the body with the energy needed for the flight or fight response to pain. Personally, I have noticed that , when provoked, I can use my anger, my adrenalin, to do damage either verbally or physically, or I can use my anger to produce something useful.
Some years back in Saskatchewan, I had put in an especially long and tiring day. It was nearly midnight and I had a horse trailer full of firewood to unload. I felt my strength ebbing and wanted nothi8ng more than to quit. More as an experiment that anything I decided to get good and mad. And I did. The funny thing was, I wasn't even mad at anyone or anything specifically. I was just good and "peeved off". Well, that wood started to fly like a flock of sparrows chased from a barn by shotgunfire. And before I knew it, something positive had been accomplished by my anger and my work for the day was done!
Now, as a nation, we can become enraged at Islamic extremists" and bomb the crap out of Yemen, as we are now apparently commencing to do. Or maybe, someone with more insight than myself can come up with a less violent solution to the problem. I certainly hope so because escalating the violence is certain to end in tears. You'd think the humans would have picked up on that one by now, wouldnt you Bender?