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Altadenans Are Angry--Americans Are Angry!

Anger is a very necessary emotion that humans need. But it is how you express your anger that make all the difference. If you are mad at the establishment why take it out on your neighbors?

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.

Revvell July 25, 2011 at 01:51 PM
Another good article, Gregory. I work (volunteer) at Twin Towers Correctional Facility with the inmates on just that issue. What I, and many of them who've done some work with themselves have found is, so often they feel out of control of their own lives and they've taken it out on others by "trying" to control them... often by force. What they've found and are finding is that it all comes from within. Also, I'm finding that, all the chemicals ... in the air, the food we eat... the lack of movement... the lack of love.. all contributes to this off-balance anger where, if we're conscious at the moment, we wouldn't be doing. With the inmates, we do voice dialogue and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to find out where the anger is coming from and how to let it go. They're finding out they need to take responsibility for why they're there and what they can do to change THEMselves so when they get out, they don't keep the cycle going. What's been interesting in the journey is how amazingly intelligent many of these inmates are and how something like anger (which caused many to turn to drugs) brought them to where they are now. All the ways you mentioned to release anger is well-and-good, Gregory, yet, just a temporary solution yet, waaaaay better than taking it out on a spouse, baby mama, partner, etc. Long term? Find the root cause and eliminate that!
Daron Anderson July 25, 2011 at 02:01 PM
I have a friend with a Doctorate in Psychology. He told me something once that "stuck" with me. There is one thing common to ALL relationships, no matter how intimate or casual, and that thing is conflict. It is how one resolves the conflict that determines the type and how long the relationship lasts. Basically it is a response to something that threatens us, a warning signal. Today, we are all under a lot of stress. Life can be emotionally, physically and spirituality stressful. No wonder there is more anger in America these days! Just the financial situation of the economy has created more stress for all of us! Blogs like this one do provide a positive outlet that lets us vent, and vent anonymously if we so chose. Sometimes people are more vehement when anonymous, and maybe that is yet another positive communication service offered by blogs. When one finds themselves too embroiled in consistent ill spirit, it is time to step back. I like to go outside in the morning, just after sunrise and close my eyes and listen to the dawn chorus of the mockingbirds, jays, and dozens of others. It reminds me that I share a world with other creatures with lives of their own and struggles of their own just to survive. The more I listen, the more I hear: horses whinnying, roosters crowing, cars starting, someone taking the trash to the curb, the newspapers hitting the driveways and the birdsongs. All signalling the start of a new day.for all of us. BREATHE!
Leslie Aitken July 25, 2011 at 03:07 PM
The above comment was actually mine, but since my son was still "signed in" it was assigned to him. Don't want to put "words in his mouth", so felt I should clarify!
Lisa Maiorana July 25, 2011 at 11:38 PM
YOU GET MORE WITH HONEY THAN YOU DO WITH VINEGAR..... ;)
navigio July 26, 2011 at 12:34 AM
I wonder why you said anger is necessary? I dont disagree, just interested in what you see its roll as. Anger seems to me to be a response to loss of control, or the feeling of loss of control. It is similar in that sense to fear, which seems obviously left over as a very useful response to danger. In contrast, the threat that elicits anger seems not necessarily life-threatening but more a psychologically existential and ongoing and intentional threat. Anger seems also to be used as an intimidation tactic, especially in 'negotiations'. Perhaps it is the legacy of the instinct that incites two potentially competitive leaders to 'duke it out'. There is a great movie called the quiet man and one of the main 'issues' in the movie between the main character (american) and his wife (irish) is that he doesnt agree that anger is productive (for good reason) while she sees the lack of it as a lack of his value of her as something worth fighting for. That all set within the context of contrasting cultures. :-) I think anger has its uses, but I also think its very much overused today.. :-)

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