I Feel, I Think, I Clam Up

 

The popular saying is, “Opinions are like noses; everybody has one.” I’ve heard a few variations, but you get the point. Each of us has his (or her) own thoughts and feelings about any given subject.

It’s pretty hard not to. Neutrality is almost impossible; chances are, we will have an opinion. We either like someone, or we don’t. We either like a movie, song, or show, or we don’t. We either stand for or against something or someone.

It’s one of our main daily activities, really: forming and developing opinions.

And, at some point, we will express those opinions. We’ll say what we feel, or think.

And the people to whom we say them will either agree or disagree.

Counselor, is there a point to this narrative?

I’m getting there, Your Honor.

I often try not to have an opinion on things but, as I said, that’s pretty tough. I am, after all, a thinking, feeling human being.

What I try even harder to do is keep those opinions to myself, because if I express them, I may have to then defend them. And therein lies a source of great discomfort for me.

 

You ever walk into a gunfight with a pea-shooter?

That’s how I feel almost every time I get into a discussion with someone whose opinions differ from my own.

No matter how confident I may be about my ability to argue my position, I nearly always feel as though the other person can argue his better, thus sending me to a spectacular crash and burn.

I hate that.

Because, then I end up feeling like my opinion is the wrong one, even though I’ve been told many times, there is no wrong opinion. Facts are right and wrong (or even “alternative”). Opinions are simply opinions.

(You couldn’t prove that by the current political discourse in this country, though, but that’s another story.)

What’s worse, I worry the other person thinks I’m kinda on the stupid side for believing as I do. Mind you, this is all under the assumption the other person even cares what I think.

Which all serves to make me less likely to open my mouth next time around. 🤐

 

So, I wonder: does anybody else feel like that? Seriously.

If you do, how do you deal with that?

Because, in my opinion, I could use some tips.

Thoughts and Prayers…Then What?

 

Dear Las Vegas,

I can’t tell you how deeply sorry I am, how much my heart hurts, how horrified I am, at what happened Sunday night at a country music festival on the Strip.

At how some nitwit 32 floors up in a hotel room opened fire on the crowd, killing, at last count, 50 people and wounding over 400 others, making this the largest mass murder in recent American history.

At how what should have been a night of fun, music and camaraderie turned, just like that, into a real live, real-time nightmare.

I can’t begin to imagine how chaotic, unnerving, terrifying and ultimately senseless the whole scene was as it unfolded. People knew they were in danger, but had no idea where to run, as this monster continued his all-out assault, motivated by who knows what.

It’s heartbreaking. It’s sickening. Unfortunately, though, it’s not especially shocking.

It’s simply our modern-day culture. Somebody kills a bunch of innocent people. Again.

 

We all know what happens now.

“Thoughts and prayers” come in from well-meaning people around the world. Which is entirely appropriate. After a tragedy such as this, many of us feel too helpless to do anything other than let the victims know we care, but that’s important for them to know.

Then, the gun control advocates and the National Rifle Association and its acolytes have a shouting match over what the proper response should be. About all I’m saying about that is, “Guns don’t kill people; people do.”, definitely ranks in my Top Three for single most asinine statement I’ve ever heard in my life.

Then, ultimately, nothing changes, the story becomes old news in our 24/7 news culture, and things go on as before, until the next mass shooting.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Somebody, please, prove me wrong. I would love for someone to break this cycle, and soon.

I know you’re hurting really bad, Las Vegas. I wish you comfort, healing and strength.

And one other thing. To those of you whose compassion and courage moved you to rush to the aid of victims before the first responders could reach them: you were, by far, the brightest lights on the Strip last night.