By Hans Ebert
It’s tough to absorb it all. It’s constantly being on overload and grappling to simplify things. And even if one were to get rid of the debris cluttering up our personal lives and too close to comfort, there are those outside forces that force themselves in and which manage to effect and impact daily lives. Rarely do these impact our lives positively, and there’s always the fear that something will trigger such negativity that you end up walking down that tunnel again- the one with no light at the end.
While some of us are trying to come to grips with the death of singer-songwriter and musician Chris Cornell, which we now know was suicide through hanging, and a report that the tranquilliser Ativan was involved, comes the absolute horror and sadness and darkness where a bomb went off after an Ariana Grande concert- a bomb targeted at the young singer’s fans- mainly very young girls, many probably attending their first pop concert, with their whole lives ahead of them. And now they’re gone and we’re left wondering about those who managed to survive this depraved act of evil and how they will be forever scarred, how this will affect the young career of Ariana Grande, and how we manage to carry on knowing what we know, but at a loss to find a solution.
Sometimes, things happen for a reason. And though I can try to understand the death of Chris Cornell, and having had a shocking effect years ago when wrongly prescribed Ativan, how we move on without our minds constantly switching lanes and thinking of those lost, those left behind, and the fear- the gut wrenching fear- of attending a pop concert and bathing in the joys of music, has been killed off at the pass.
We now fear our children attending these concerts. We fear for our friends. We fear for the musicians and for ourselves. We’re living in constant fear. That concert by the Rolling Stones at Altamont was not the day the music died. It died at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in 2017.
You might like cooking more than I like music, and some of us might enjoy horse racing more than others, but as global citizens of the world, we’re brothers and sisters joined by the human condition. And this human condition is under siege these days by a deadly evil. It’s an evil that doesn’t discriminate- an evil that has sneaked up on us, infiltrated our daily lives and is keeping invasion of privacy captive.
The deaths of largely children- young girls targeted by some madman, or someone simply born evil, or who, for some reason, became evil- at that Ariana Grande concert in Manchester is the latest in a long line of horror to hit a world gone completely off the tracks, where we now need to live in fear of even going out to enjoy the joys of music.
The politicians will tell us not to give into fear. About the need for solidarity. Maybe. And easy for them to say because they’re just empty words. But there they are needing bodyguards and security details 24/7 to protect them and those around them.
For all the talk about “evil losers” and more messages of sympathy and all the usual tough political rhetoric, like all of us, they have no answers. As Dylan sang all those years ago, Don’t follow leaders and watch your parking meters. Those parking meters are on overtime and glib political sound bites must be questioned and not tolerated. It’s hypocritical jive.
They’re just another group of world leaders who cannot lead, and who we depend on far too much to steer us away from the darkness. But then again, we have become dependent on so many things for the answers- crutches that are seldom stable enough to help us along life’s journey of highs and lows and rough terrain.
The Internet has given us accessibility to pills and alcohol and drugs to dull the senses and the time to lose ourselves in the quicksand of social media to keep ourselves active. This is how we’re being productive? And we wonder why music has been reduced to some beats from serial poseurs?
We think we’re connected, but most of the time, it’s a connection to a disconnected and disparate and desperate world with a very wrong sense of priorities where we have lost the art of communication. This is the new world we’re leaving our children. This is our legacy. Shame on us.
Evil isn’t just lurking outside- on streets, in churches and temples and music concerts. Sadly, evil is everywhere and being fuelled in the online world. We say we practice tolerance and forgiveness, but we rarely do. Often, we’re too busy doing nothing to understand this.
The vitriol that spills over much too often onto supposed “social media” must be reined in by very harsh online laws. The Digital Revolution happened so quickly that online laws were not put into place. They’re still not and which is why everyone is rocking in the free world. Even the depraved who can find all the answers and hiding places they need in this online world.
Wishing anyone dead on Twitter or Facebook or YouTube is its own version of terrorism. Deleting one of these messages and dismissing it as a “mistake” is not good enough. It needs to be taken to a higher court. Those who have spread these messages and disease of hate must be grilled, sued and named and shamed and then kicked out into the wilderness.
Read something vile from someone, then report it. Don’t dismiss it as something to be taken lightly. Name and shame them. Don’t tolerate drunk messaging. Be vigilant. Be part of an online police force. Track down haters. And report them as ANY threat falls under common assault and the laws of libel work anywhere- even online.
In the “Death Wish” series of movies, the character actor Charles Bronson portrayed had the right idea: Sometimes there’s a need to create your own laws.
Report these online cowards to wherever they work. If you have friends in the legal fraternity, work with them to sue the bastards. Don’t turn the other cheek. We’ve done this before and been whacked in the process.
Don’t ever believe that those who own Facebook and Twitter and YouTube etc will actually do anything to solve or eradicate the problem. It’s business as usual for them. A data base driven business.
They offer the expected sound bites, but like politicians who the world has elected to lead, they’re outwardly calm, but inside in panic mode. They know that their time is up and have much to do with the state of today’s short-circuited world. They provided the world with the new guns and weapons of hate.
The evil genie has escaped and is now on every delivery platform, hiding behind “freedom of speech”, and we’re accepting this as the norm. It’s not the norm. It’s a beast of burden that must be stopped.
To think that many in America started burning the records of the Beatles and wanted their music banned when John Lennon remarked that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. And we’re now at this place where unknowns are allowed into our lives to take cheap pot shots, call people names and even wish that people die, and it’s alright. The latter should not be allowed to continue as we don’t know where it will end.
We cannot tolerate another Manchester, another “world leader” who cannot lead, another platform for hate, another platform to warp minds, another dose of negativity to drown out positivity and something new to keep us prisoners of fear.
This is not the way to live our lives and it’s up to each of us to fight this- to crush this and to create another “business model” and a new and more simple life that’s about personal happiness for all.