Charles E. Richardson

Fantasy versus reality a key symptom of the village’s sickness

Over the past few weeks I’ve written about a sick village. There has been little, if any, push back on the theory that our collective village is a deathly ill. None of us can sit back and blindly think it’s not our village. When parishioners can’t enjoy Sunday church service without worrying about who’s walking in the door of the sanctuary, that’s just more evidence. And it’s piling up in every corner of our village. Doesn’t matter where you live — rural, urban — or where you are — out-on-the town or sitting in church. Why worry about terrorists? It’s more likely to be your red, white and blue American-born neighbor who takes you out.

And quite frankly, I’ve stopped worrying about the carnage because there are only two things I can guarantee: There will be another mass shooting and we will not do anything to curb this phenomenon that has wrapped itself around our country more than any other industrialized nation in the world, much less one that calls itself, civilized.

We lack the will, political or otherwise, to do any little thing about it. We embrace our guns to our own detriment and won’t be separated from them until, as the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms first put it, “I Will Give Up My Gun When They Peel My Cold Dead Fingers From Around It.” That’s a prophesy that comes true everyday.

Our local village is just as sick as our national one. As soon as I wrote about Jayvon and asked Coroner Leon Jones’ question, “Where’s the outrage?” three more fell dead by the hands of others on Halloween and another person was found murdered the next week, bringing the running total of homicides to 26 for the year. There are still seven weeks in 2017.

Another symptom of our sickness is the “Not Supposed To Snitch” philosophy. It needs to be buried. Jayvon’s alleged killer was arrested because of information gathered because a grandmother wouldn’t let her grandchild remain silent as the child had been advised to do. People who kill your friends aren’t your friends.

Sometimes I think the shooters have become so desensitized, either through video games, movies or some other media, that they don’t understand that you can’t press the reset button on reality. Once you pull a real trigger, you’re done.

When I was younger, it was easy to differentiate between reality and fantasy. Reality was much more rich while fantasy was either seen on a black and white TV screen, a movie, or a two-dimensional comic strip or book. Sure we played Cowboys and Indians and of course nobody wanted to be the Indian.

We had our heroes, I used to fly around my aunt’s house wearing a cape. I even jumped off a garage in the back and was surprised when I didn’t fly (never tried that again), but for the most part, we knew what was real and what was not.

Today, I’m not sure that’s the case. You don’t have to play sports to play sports. We can just sit in our special NBA Mini Rocker Speaker Chair, fire up the old Xbox and play NBA 2K18. If football’s our game, slip in Madden NFL 18. If anything is contributing to the obesity rates of youngsters, the combination of video games and the lack of dressing out for physical education would be two culprits to blame.

Back to fantasy versus reality and the ability to tell the difference. Couple all of the electronic garbage that’s being consumed with a young person’s natural belief that they’re invulnerable. And, contrary to all of the evidence around them, they believe bad things won’t happen to them.

And one more thing, and this is particularly true of high school dropouts. They believe they are smarter than everyone else, when in reality they are operating on Low IQ. They are living in a world that’s getting more complicated with every sunrise and they’re trying to get by with, at most, an eighth grade education.

How do we bring them up to speed and how do we keep others from following the same path to nowhere? Some ideas, next week.