.. but I probably won’t be able to resist putting in a panda or two.
I woke up this morning, turned on my computer (even though I PROMISED I wouldn’t do that till after I’d done some work first), checked here and saw that more people than I could even imagine visited the Panda Chronicles in just one day. Maybe it was some kind of computer malfunction, I thought.
Then, after I got done congratulating myself, I logged on to Fezbook and saw the news about the latest shooting in Aurora, Colorado. What is going on here? How many times does this have to happen before more restrictive gun laws are put in place?
OK, OK, do I really have any business talking about gun laws on a cartoon panda blog?
It’s really not that simple. I do think that weapons are too, too present in this country, particularly automatic-and semi-automatic weapons. Do we really need to be armed to the teeth? But even more than that, I start to wonder, have we fostered such an atmosphere of hate and disrespect that people growing up in our world think that if they have an impulse to go shoot a bunch of total strangers in a crowded movie theater, that they should give in to it? If all you hear when you are growing up is nasty rhetoric on television by pundits and politicians at what point do you start thinking that it’s okay to hate everyone or maybe just people who are different than you?
As difficult as my 20’s and 30’s were, as a young artist trying to make her way in the world, financially, it had far less peril than a 24 year-old of today. I got through 5 years of undergraduate studies, and 2 years of grad school, with less than $10,000 debt TOTAL for 7 years of schooling. I could live on $500 a month, pay my rent and have time to paint, as well as a social life, and still pay back my loans. The financial pressures on graduating students today are enormous. If you top that off with the stress of not being able to find good paying work, a violent culture, and hatred and disrespect being spewed over the airwaves, is it any wonder that some people go off the rails, and try to take others with them?
I’ll be the first to admit that I do not dwell in the trenches. In many ways I have retreated from the hub-bub of the current culture to frolic with the (cartoon) pandas. I pose the question: If, instead of listening to certain television news shows, with their misinformation and meanness that they spew out night after night, what if we spent that same amount of time watching panda videos of adorable little pandas, following their keeper up a slide, eating bamboo and cuppycakes, or riding a rocking horsey? Would that feeling of peace and “awwww” affect the way we felt about our fellow humans? I think we should try it.
We have everything to gain.
Be the (peaceful) Bear (well, except for the panda kindergarten and they are not armed)
Bob T. Panda