Things I Don’t Understand

I have a tendency to take things personally, including things that have nothing directly to do with me.  Things that I should be able to just shrug off and say “not my problem.”

Homelessness would be a good example.  I suppose it shouldn’t matter to me that people who are estranged from their families, face mental and social challenges, may have used illicit substances more than a time or two and have been in trouble with the law may have to sleep al fresco and store their worldly goods in a purloined shopping cart.  I have this crazy idea that everyone should be entitled to a roof over their head and food in their stomach without having to be booked into jail to do so.

But today I have something else on my mind.  Something I can’t begin to understand.  It’s been gnawing at me for the past few weeks that a couple from Utah, a regular Bonnie and Clyde apparently, drove the 80 west to California and went on a shooting spree.  They left two of our local sheriff’s deputies dead and a law enforcement officer and a civilian wounded.  The newspapers say that detectives are trying to piece together a motive.  One thing that’s known so far is that the husband was born in Mexico, entered the United States illegally and was deported twice.  One of the deportations was related to drug possession.

So take your pick of issues on which to cry foul:  Immigration/border protection, gun control, the war on drugs, a social fabric that is coming apart at the seams.  Everyone has an opinion and I’d love to hear yours.  What bothers me most, however, is that on a Friday in late October, Sacramento County Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Deputy Michael Davis, Jr. went to work, faithfully performed their duties as public servants, and never made it home to their families at the end of their shifts.

“Maybe it was their time,” said Pastor Mom when I related that these local murders were hitting me hard.  I wish I could believe that.  But then she offered some wisdom that does make sense to me.  There are many things that we don’t understand, she said.  Yes, there are.  For one thing, I don’t understand what the pair who were charged with these crimes thought they could possibly gain by ending the lives of two of those who were duty-bound to protect us.  Were they venting frustration with their lot in life?  Did they for once feel powerful rather than powerless?  Did they think they could possibly accomplish anything by resorting to the depths of evil that would see them denounced by all?  Did they think at all?  Maybe this was just “one of those drugs and gun things.”  (As if I could possibly be so dismissive.)

So, yes, there are a lot of things I don’t understand.  And perhaps we’re not supposed to understand them.  Perhaps we are supposed to go through life shaking our heads and asking God “Why?”

One would think that I’m now old enough to have come to terms with the craziness of this world.  That I would long ago have stopped trying to make sense of the unfathomable.

So I opened the newspaper today and was greeted by the headline “Man Decapitates Mother, Is Killed by Train.”

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4 thoughts on “Things I Don’t Understand

  1. This post reminded me why I no longer watch the news, or read the newspaper. Although I know the world is full of crime and hatred, I prefer to not read about it or watch it daily. Call it “ignorance is bliss” if you will, but I sleep better at night now. Great post.

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Michelle. I know what you mean about ignorance being bliss. I think of the Billy Gilman lyric “Mom won’t watch the news at night/There’s too much stuff that’s making her cry.” When it’s local news, however, it’s a hot topic of conversation everywhere from work to the supermarket, so it’s hard to avoid. Not that I want to stick my head in the sand instead of being aware of what is going on in our community. But yes, I sure do like your approach, and I suspect that it may be the best one.

  2. Like the commenter above, I quit watching TV and reading newspapers. I prefer to pre-filter the world’s main events through NPR, and combine those articles with thoughtful WordPress posts. I still get the news, but I’m back in charge of my emotions again. It’s hard to tamp back feelings of helplessness and frustration when it comes to what the rest of Homo sapiens is doing, so I look to nature and my own family for my uplifting needs. I will offer help to others where I feel it will have the biggest impact. There will never be a shortage of people in need.

  3. Pingback: Protecting the Protectors | A Map of California

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