You can’t help but notice the very sharp tones over the airways these days. From politics to law enforcement issues, neighborhood issues to the economy, and to people just trying to make it through tough times, so many are very unhappy with the status quo.
How we express our anger is an issue because if it harms others that would not be a good thing, especially if those who are harmed were totally innocent bystanders. If you are angry with the establishment why take it out on your innocent neighbors?
Are there good and bad ways to express anger? Calling one person’s way good and another bad would be in the eyes of the beholders. Some tolerate outlandish behaviors better than others, but when you harm others because of your outrage that would seem to cross a moral decency line.
Just recently we witnessed the trial of Casey Anthony, where many assumed that she either murdered her child or had something to do with her death. When she was found not guilty of the most egregious of the crimes, many Americans expressed their deep dissatisfaction with the verdict.
It appears that it is not just this particular case they we’re mad about, even though that was bad enough, but this incident sparked even deeper anger people have stored in them. This was merely “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
We notice this same sort of reaction coming from many of our community members here in Altadena. Whether it is directed at the Sheriff’s Department, Town Council, noisy neighbors, barking dogs, traffic issues, school closings, cell tower proposals or other proposed community projects, people are very expressive in showing their anger.
People have the right to express their dissatisfaction with nearly anything that they do not like, but again if that energy is misdirected, are they any better than those about whom they are complaining?
In the case of the little Anthony girl you can understand the anger coming from parents and even with them peacefully protesting a verdict that they didn’t agree with. You can understand them placing flowers or candles at a site in remembrance of the child. What seems to cross the line is the lynch-mob mentality that caused the police to disguise the release of Anthony from jail and to whisk her away in privacy.
Don’t get me wrong here because certainly if people didn’t protest against bad behaviors and practices things that need to be changed would remain the same. Immoral practices that are wrong in every way would remain the same. It is because of our protest that many wrongs are corrected.
We should express our anger over someone such as Hitler or the mass murderers and rapists. We should protest against racial discrimination, bigotry, police brutality, and against the abuse of power by ruthless politicians? I am certainly not against protest or expressing your dissatisfaction.
How do you express anger? Do you do it publicly with malice, without concern for who might be harmed by your actions? Do you do it verbally with harsh and sharp terms intended to cut with the precision of a razor’s blade? Is there a right and wrong way?
A few of my columns seem to spark anger that has been stored up in some of you. No, it is not my intent to cause controversy, but if there are landmines hidden in people shouldn’t we try to defuse the anger before it explodes?
If people boldly express their dissatisfaction with things perhaps that is not a bad thing because if they allowed their anger to build up to the point where they explode without warning we would definitely be worse off.
There have been many cases where deranged murderers have open fire and killed innocent people who were unfortunate enough to be near the scene when they exploded. Many such people had a history of deep psychological problems, but no one took them seriously until after the damage was done.
Perhaps what we are hearing from those who are protesting things that they consider to be wrong is a way of defusing the bomb before it grows to a point where it goes off without notice.
The old adage that states, “sticks and stones may break my bones but talk doesn't bother me,” should be appropriate for the current climate among people.
Altadenans are angry. If they express their anger in ways that may not be as tasteful as we would like, I would rather hear their sharp tongues than to read about the lives that were lost by the hands of a person who lost control and took their anger out on innocent people.
With this new medium of blogging you might as well get used to hearing more chatter that you wish you hadn’t. People that used to hide in dark places can now come out into the mainstream public and say what they want to say. Freedom of speech allows them to say even horrible things that we may not like. But if that vile language allows them to let off the steam, perhaps that is the better alternative.
If you are very angry try running a few miles, hitting a boxing bag, or working your body vigorously into a deep sweat with any sort of exercise or fun activity. I’m sure your spouse, mate, children, co-workers and associates, and even your fellow Altadenans would appreciate you venting in ways that are positive.
Yes Altadenans are angry--Americans are angry, it is how we express that anger that concerns me.