Bagel Boss Incident – Oh Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter having conversations with people about this whole “Bagel Boss” incident. If you don’t know what it is, simply, a man had a complete freak breakdown in a bagel shop, someone recorded it and posted it on Twitter and the Twitter-verse did it’s thing and mocked him, bullied him further and… well it just went down the rabbit hole from there… 

Now, in all fairness, he did freak out in a public place. Regardless of how it started, he screamed about how he had a difficult time dating because he’s short and he seemed hell-bent on saying how “all women” were the same and mean. He thought the women there were secretly hating on him, though they did seem to be just going about their business. 

I watched it and winced the entire time. At one point, someone – maybe a manager – tackled him to the ground.  I’m no lawyer or law enforcement, but it seemed appropriate. He was full of rage and pretty explosive.  But what happened next, is difficult to wrap my head around.

Someone recorded it, of course, and posted it on Twitter. And then Twitter went to town mocking him, bullying him – making fun of him.  I called a few people out  – people I actually respect on Twitter for reposting the recording and they diligently justified, without skipping a beat, why they thought it was fine to repost it, mock and bully him. 

Ugghhh. 

Here’s the point I’ve been making all night:   when someone gets a bunch of guns and walks into a school and kills people — we’re all stunned. We’re saddened and “tweeting” for something more than “thoughts and prayers” to be done.  By then though, it’s too late.

Mental Illness always comes up.

“Why didn’t anyone help him?”

“How could no-one have noticed he was so upset?”

The Twitter-verse is then filled with all the compassionate people who would have known if it was their neighbor, their family member, if their friend was in trouble. 

But, here in this moment, in full display is clearly a man in pain. He’s suffering.  And what do all the people in the store and everyone online do?  Bully him further.

Surely, he was out-of-line and absolutely inappropriate.  He did get kicked out of the store and rightfully so.  But what happens when this man, clearly distraught goes home and sees he’s being mocked on Twitter? What happens when a fragile human being who clearly hasn’t dealt with some issues notices his own outburst on his Twitter feed and reads what everyone is saying?

We’ve lost our ability to be compassionate.  More importantly, we’ve lost our ability to connect the dots.  Someone in that much pain, is about to burst.  Clearly he’s calling out for help.  Instead of instigating the situation, wouldn’t it have been amazing if someone had offered him some help instead? A bit of kindness. 

Now, I’m not saying everyone who has an outburst is going to go grab a gun and kill people – but that’s kind of irrelevant, isn’t it? I mean we don’t really ever understand why people do these things – but regardless, shouldn’t we be better people?  Shouldn’t our humanity keep us from harming someone else even further?  Is there really some sort of joy in watching someone in so much pain? 

I think what I’m most upset about this evening, is all the people who replied to me being upset that I called them out on their own behavior.  Instead of just admitting they might have made a mistake, they then tried to make it about how he deserved to be mocked for acting so badly.  They found ways to justify their bullying.  It was sad actually. 

I believe that our true character, the true test of who we are is not measured when things are going perfectly well.  It doesn’t matter that you have compassion AFTER a massacre – that’s expected. In tragedy, it is expected that people will come together and help each other. That’s how most humans behave, that’s how most humans survive. But the true test of who we are is really measured when things are hard.  How do we behave when it’s not easy?  Do we show courage when no one is looking?  Can we see pain and react accordingly even when everyone else is bullying?  Can we stop being part of the mob-mentality?  Can we even see it happening? 

I hope that guy figures it out. My prayer, my wish for him tonight is that he has a loving family or great friends that saw what happened online and intervened to walk him through.

I just hope he’s not alone. 

And for people on Twitter and social media in general – I pray that we do better – and that we err on the side of compassion. That we find a way to be better than we used to be. 

Dear Me: I Take Responsibility Newtown

*Taken from my journal last week.

Dear Me:

Today was a hard day.  I can’t stop crying.  I don’t have children, but still.  What happened in Newtown hurt me to the core.  Not sure exactly why.  I don’t think you have to have children to get it.  All the newscasters keep saying, “If you have children…”  What?  I have my God-daughter who I adore with all my heart…and that’s enough.  My neighbors and friends have kids.  That’s enough.  I’m a human being.  That’s enough to understand, to “get it”.  I feel it just as much as anyone else.

And maybe that’s exactly why I’m crying so much.  Those are my children.  My neighbors and friends kids are my kids.  How did we lose our way?  How did we forget that my neighbor is my brother, my sister, part of my human family?  How far away from each other have we gotten that we don’t even know our neighbors last name or the last time we saw them come home?  When did we lose touch with each other?

That child, that killer – how did we let him grow up to DO that?  Yes, I take responsibility.  We don’t care about each other any-more.  We only care about what is “ours”.  And we only care about others when tragedy unfolds.  We’ve become so selfish, so self-absorbed we don’t care till someone hurts us or harms someone we love.  And then all we do is blame. We blame everyone else but ourselves.  The media, the healthcare system, guns.  And then the media, medical profession and the NRA blames everyone else.  The media says they’re just “reporting the news” or “it’s just entertainment”, the medical profession claims it has “no funding” and the NRA says, “guns don’t kill people…”.

Lord have mercy on all of us. So much finger-pointing, so little self-reflection.

I always tell people we need to do better when we know better – but the truth is I can do better.  I can tell people all I want to do better, but I can only change myself.  I can be a better steward of my fellow human beings and not just when things are tough, but when things are okay too.  I need to reach out and love my neighbor.  I need to stop complaining about what’s wrong and do something about it.  And I’m not exactly sure how to do it, but it might start with sending a letter to my Senator and my Representatives and telling them exactly how I feel.  Maybe knocking on my next door neighbor’s door and introducing myself might be a good start?  I don’t know.  But something’s gotta give, because what we’ve been doing, isn’t working.  Something has to change.

Now, I’m not looking for a “kumbaya” moment or anything, I’m just saying we have fallen so far apart where being social means jumping online and exchanging a few sentences or comments on Facebook.  And look, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it isolates us. It hinders us from actually being involved in people’s lives.   We send a quick text “Happy Birthday” and we’re done with that celebration. I’m sure I’ll get more than a few “Merry Christmas” text next week…it’s just the way we do things now.    There’s no longer a need to be involved because we’ve found shortcuts to get so many more things done now with technology, you know, because we’re all so “busy”.

Really?

No one and I mean NO ONE, is THAT busy.  Unless you’re looking for a cure to Cancer, or fighting in a WAR or doing something of that magnitude, you my friend are not that muther-fucking busy.  I don’t know anyone in my own life who is THAT busy (though all of us claim to be!).

We find so many excuses for NOT doing the right thing, instead of finding all the reason to DO the right thing, the hard thing, the good thing, the quality thing.  And the catch phrase we’ve become comfortable with is:  “I’m busy”. The underlying message is clear: you’re not a priority. You don’t matter to me.

Clearly, we were all too busy for the killer in Newtown Connecticut.  No one noticed his pain or his craziness or whatever it was because we didn’t notice him at all.  We can blame his mother or father or teachers or doctors – so much easier to do than to blame ourselves, right?  But the truth is I’m also to blame for not doing more to know my neighbors, to care for someone outside my own little “busy” world – to reach out and be there for someone who may need me. Who may just need my acknowledgement that they exist. That they matter.

And this is why I can’t stop crying.  Because I lost 20 gorgeous little kids today.  I lost 6 beautiful adults who had to sacrifice themselves to save others. I keep tearing because down deep inside I know, I can do better than this. I know I can do my part to make this world a better place…and I didn’t.  Because I’ve been too busy. Too self-absorbed, too selfish with my own little life.

I am so sorry Newtown.  I take responsibility Newtown.  And although it will not bring back our loved ones,  I will do better.  I promise.

Today, I’m making some changes:

  • I’m going to call my neighbor and touch base again with him and his family.  I’m going to reach out to some other neighbors I don’t know.  Luckily, it’s the holiday season, so it’s an easier way to say HELLO.
  • I’m going to write my two Senator and my Congressman and make known my issues regarding this tragedy as well as send a letter to the NRA voicing my opinion.
  • As far as movies/TV and video games are concerned, I’m not a fan of that genre in general so I’ve never watched anything so gruesome or bought anything so deranged, but I will go through my “collection” (if you can call it that) and see if there’s anything in there that may be watched accidentally by my little four-year old darling God-Daughter and put it out of reach. My problem with banning movies and TV is that I do consider them ART (at least the ones I buy and own)  – and although I do think there’s a freedom to an artist expressing themselves, I also think there’s a responsibility that goes along with it.  The artist himself has to deal with the consequences of his art, and the consumer of that “ART” needs to be smart about what it takes in. So, I can put the parental locks on my TV and my computer and not buy toys/games that promote…oh, for the lack of a better word:  stupid dumb-ass crap.

That’s a start. Somehow I feel a little better.  Still tearing, but at least now I have a plan. Something to work on. Hopefully, that will help me start to change things. I can’t change the world today, but I can certainly change me.

Love,

Carm.

Links of interest:

To find your Senator:  http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state&Sort=ASC 

To find your Representative in the House: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ 

To contact the White House:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact 

To contact the NRA (The National Rifle Association):  https://contact.nra.org/ 

To search people/studios in the Entertainment industry:  www.imdb.com 

To contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness:  http://www.nami.org/ 

To contact your Neighbor:  Step outside.

To change the world:  Look in a mirror.  Take responsibility.  And Love.

On This Sad Day. . .

redcandle

Such a major conversation about guns. Truth is, we also need to be having a conversation about MENTAL HEALTH. About how we talk to each other, about how we deal with anger. Even how people talk to each other on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. – – its disturbing. Yes, have your arguments about guns. But haven’t we already been here before? Do me a favor: sit down with your kids, your family, your friends and talk. Yeah, just talk. MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS. Communication matters. We need to step up. We need be smarter. Better than we used to be… please, let’s be better than we used to be…

Much love and peace to my neighbors and friends in Connecticut.