They say that money is the root of all evil and perhaps that is true, but I tend to think that fear is, or perhaps they go hand in hand. I mean guilt and fear certainly make a lot of people a lot of money, insurance companies, firearms manufacturers, some charities…
The rising cost of living is adding more and more pressure to lower socioeconomic areas, even in today’s advanced world, having a lower income level or relying on welfare can lead to quickly finding yourself with no roof over your head, limited educational opportunities, less affordable healthy food choices and in some of our leading first world countries you may even be denied basic emergency healthcare.
Add to those stresses the rise in threats of violence from other human beings, terrorism, mass shootings, thieves, one punch attacks… The list goes on and on. We, the people, are living in a state of perpetual fear and the worst thing about it is that it has become normal.
We live in a world where panic and fear have become a multibillion dollar industry, we are constantly being told by our world leaders that our lives and freedom are in danger, they tell us that we must act NOW and vote for them to prevent our sacred rights being taken away from us.
We are taught to be scared by our media every time we turn on the television or load a social media page. Images of terrible injustices that are occurring in our own backyards fill our screens and at the same time we are told over and over how lucky we are and how much more freedom we have than other nations.
Hollywood movies remind us that while we might live in ‘the lucky country’ right now, really we are only hanging on by a thread, potentially we are in constant threat of nuclear war, terrorism, biological warfare and natural disasters from the global warming we brought upon ourselves.
The nature of humanity has seen us dutifully grabbing our torches and pitchforks to stand up for what is ‘right’ since the dawn of time, and that banding together to fight for freedoms such as equal rights is exactly what has propelled us forward as a species, but I am sure that you can all agree that we can’t please everybody, it’s impossible, there will be winners and losers in every fight and in the end we rely on elected governments to decide for us, what is best for the majority of people.
But what if those decisions aren’t in everybody’s best interest?
Recent mass shootings in America have pushed he ‘gun debate’ back into the headlines. Death from gun violence is at an all-time high and the whole country seems to agree that something must be done to prevent more senseless tragedies but they are very divided on HOW that should happen, with one side pushing for stricter gun control policies such as safer storage requirements, more detailed background checks and reducing the availability of automatic and semi-automatic weapons and the other side is pushing for teachers to be armed with their own guns in the classroom so that they could potentially ‘shoot first’ if a threat was made to themselves or their students.
Now President Trump has clearly chosen his side, telling his people that freedom comes at a cost and surrounding themselves with big walls and more guns will only serve to protect the ‘land of the free’ from all the “sicko’s”. He feels that cracking down on mental illness and arming teachers is the key to preventing school yard massacres.
The majority of people don’t pull triggers because they are mentally ill, they pull them because they are very angry or very scared.
The sad fact here is that many of these future “sicko’s” who commit such atrocities are already within their hypothetical border walls, they themselves are everyday men, woman and children directly or indirectly falling victim to the biggest self inflicted epidemic threatening the human race today, the culture of anger and fear.
Fear and anger, two of our rawest emotions, throw us headlong into an instinctive fight or flight mode and enable us to do things that we never thought possible like lift a car off of a toddler, run to safety or take aim at another living person and pull the trigger.
In a state of anger or fear our ability to think rationally becomes clouded and our judgement is compromised, we act first and ask questions later. So I ask, is it really sensible, safe or fair to instil fear into the hearts of first grade teachers, give them a gun to take to class and then tell them to make a decision as to if or when they need to use it?
My personal opinion on the gun control matter is even more long winded than this post is becoming and for another day, right now I want to focus on bringing awareness to the biggest threat to our so called freedom, not terrorism, not mental illness, the underlying epidemic of fear.
Yes, yes, I am intensely aware of how incredibly lucky I am to live in Australia, a free, first world country. I have SO MANY things to be grateful for every single minute of every single day, my right to write this very blog post for example; but how many of us that are blessed with clean running water and state of the art sewerage facilities can say that we truly have emotional freedom? I know I can’t.
Can you say that you are free of fear?
Anxiety and depression are at epic proportions, the suicide rate is sky high and yet there is limited access to both emergency and ongoing affordable mental health care.
Jobs are scarce and jobs that pay enough to put a family meal on a table often require a degree from a university that many bright young minds simply cannot afford to attend.
Does even a simple thing like sending your child to primary school in the morning leave a worry in the back of your mind that a shooting could occur and you may potentially never see your baby again?
In summary, we are living in a rapidly evolving world filled with constant exposure to emotional stresses, we are told over and over again that we are lucky to have the freedom we do and then in the next breath told that this very freedom is in dire jeopardy from ‘bad people’ and we must protect ourselves, everybody panics and chaos ensues, sometimes wars break out, big political decisions are made quickly in an effort to demonstrate strength and appease the fears of masses without too much regard for long term consequences that will later become the problem of a different political leader or party.
So yes, the leaders of our great nations are right, freedom does come at a cost; but it is largely a financial one, and in the end fighting firearms with firearms will only increase the size of the wound we will later have to heal. While we are fed a steady diet of drama from politicians and the media and basic human rights such as education, healthcare and the availability of healthy foods are subject to your bank account balance, this cycle will continue and people will become more unwell, more fearful and rightfully angrier.