I don’t know why I watched.

But I did. A news outlet posted a two-and-a-half minute video of the moment a mass shooting took place at a baseball field this morning. Five people were shot, as well as the shooter, who died of his injuries. Congressmen, their staff, Capitol Police: shot. While practicing baseball. Baseball.

The shooter has a history of domestic violence. He apparently even kicked a sleeping dog. I imagine, given the state of his life over the past month (living out of a gym bag at a YMCA), that something turned for him in his life, turned for the (even) worse. I imagine he felt there was nothing more to lose. I imagine in him, anger, depression, and suicidal thoughts. He didn’t like our current President. Much will be made of this fact. Already is being made.

But here I sit. Praying that the House Majority Whip, now in critical condition in a hospital, recovers fully and returns to work.

***

A friend posted an article today, a column written by a teacher, about the folly of relying on positive reinforcement when raising and teaching children.

The columnist writes:

In real life, citizens aren’t rewarded extrinsically for being good citizens. You don’t get a bonus check for paying your taxes on time. Cops don’t pull you over and hand you a $50 gift certificate for going the speed limit. Nobody throws you a pizza party for not firebombing your neighbors.

Nobody thanks you for not resorting to violence when you are angry, sad, and at your wit’s end, when you are beyond reason.

***

A relative recently told me that he has begun taking blood pressure medication. He places blame for that squarely on the shoulders of our current president.

No. That is not the president’s fault.

Nor is it the president’s fault that I ate too much over the course of the election, and over  the course of the past few months, and now need to lose a few pounds.

It is not the president’s fault that I am angry, that I worry, that I feel dismay and despair.

These are my feelings. I have them because I want them. I do with them what I want.

***

I do what I know how to do. I read. I share information. I commiserate, but I also find reasons to smile and laugh. I try, harder and harder, to listen and learn.

I try to show my children that the first person to look to when you are sad, when you are mad, is yourself.

I am running again. I am eating more healthfully. I am feeling stronger.

I did that. Nobody else.

 

 

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