Lance Scranton: Fractured lens

Lance Scranton

The news coming out of Dallas, Texas was shocking but not as shocking as the speed with which comments began to appear in newspapers and social media about the mass shooting. I used to think that our Republic was sprained but in light of the tragic events unfolding this summer — I’m thinking our collective lens is fractured.

The way that we see things these days is very often through the reaction and response instead of the actual events. We’re so starved for something on our news feed that scientists are warning us that it actually contributes to anxiety and depression. But, we’re not putting down our devices anytime soon, so we need to repair the lens we see the news through.

People do bad things but comparing our behavior to others is not an excuse to do whatever we please. With news at our fingertips, it’s easy to know what is going on every minute of the day, but inherent in the knowledge is that we need time to process. Understanding what happened in Dallas will take time, but our drive-through mentality looks for answers now — no waiting! When someone chants an obscenity, throws a rock, or shoots an officer — that becomes the news and the cycle goes on and on.

The fracture can only be healed if we set our positions aside and realize that we’re a people from different backgrounds who need each other to make this America work. Right now there is an apt analogy going around that when firemen respond to a house on fire, they don’t spend a whole bunch of time at the other houses — they focus on the fire. Right now, a fire is burning out of control and we need to respond by figuring out how we’re going to understand the cries of people who feel victimized and still leave room to figure out how we can all get better at getting along with each other.

It starts by putting aside your feelings about illegal immigration, the economy, the presidential candidates, gun control, law enforcement, LGBT rights, or foreign policy and look down the street, across the room, or as you pass by and just say “hi.” The people we come into contact with each and every day are the very people we need to make matter. We all have a voice and it’s heard loud and clear every time we choose to act in a way that helps make us stronger or tears us apart.

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