Remember it only takes a spark to start a fire

Published 9:29 am Monday, December 7, 2015

It’s a few weeks before Christmas, the sun is shining indicating a beautiful world, yet as I am writing this my Facebook pages are filled with posts asking the question, “Why?” It is the reaction to yet another mass shooting in the United States, one that overshadowed a smaller mass shooting in another state. He who shoots the most people gets the most press? How sad is that?

One mother, a pastor, made the statement, “What is wrong with this world (and the people in it) that our children need to practice what to do if there is an active shooter inside their school?” I am sure that feeling is echoed in the hearts of all parents that send their children to school.

Another post from a different person wasn’t concerned about their children but about their right to bear arms being taken away. The argument continues about the right to own guns. I don’t know the right answers to that question because I do believe in the Second Amendment, but I wonder what the rights are of those who are victims of the violence.

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Another post decried helping the refugees from Syria. Never mind that many of the shootings in the neighborhoods of our communities every day are being carried out by our own citizens against their own neighbors. Violence isn’t owned by a race or a religion. It is owned by the people who commit the act. it is owned by the person choosing to commit the violence. Unfortunately when that act is committed we make judgement against a race or a religion out of fear. We react out of fear and lash out because we feel helpless not knowing how to stop the violence. At least I feel helpless. The mother making the earlier statement feels helpless.

I think back to a conversation earlier this year with a group of 10 year olds who were excited about guns. They were excited about the video games where they kill one another. It was different then the cops and robbers I played when I was a younger. The excitement had a bite to it. A couple of the kids realized the killing games were just that, games. Another one liked guns because they kill things, and it was fun. He thought it would be fun to play a prank on a policeman with a fake gun with no realization how dangerous that could be.

We live in a violent media world where nothing is off limits on television, and we feed that by watching these programs. The highly rated programs are the most violent ones such as “The Blacklist,” “Game of Thrones” and I would add the popular show “Scandal,” to name a few. They would not be highly rated if we as adults quit watching. My opinion only — and I do watch. But lately, I have considered changing my viewing schedule. And it is our right, freedom of speech to be able to air those shows.

My new stepgrandson asked me when reading one of my mysteries, why I had to kill people in them. The question haunts me because I didn’t have a good answer. Mysteries have always murdered people. So does that mean I contribute?

I have no answers, but I have a feeling that it has to be more than us throwing money at a charity this season. It has to be more than being nice and thoughtful for one month of the year. It has to be more than expecting our government to fix humanity. Each one of us has to do our part to care about our neighbor and not shy away from someone who is different, hurting and in need. We have to become a community again to raise that child. We have to become less judgmental and selfish and more respectful so we can listen to one another and come together, working together to solve this problem.

Another conversation this week involved an older person questioning the need for a food shelf in my community. I could understand her reasoning which she explained. In the ’50s when she was raising a family and they had a hard time putting food on the table, neighbors helped out. There were no food shelves to help.

“We helped each other.” Is that the difference today? Do we help each other or do we throw money at a charity and say that it’s good? Do we see the need of our neighbors?

I have to believe our country is made of good people, but we are silent and don’t speak up because that is the gentle nature of most people. Those who create the most noise and the most ruckuses are the ones who get the most attention.

I am meandering and ranting just like my friends on Facebook because I feel helpless, frustrated and sad. I will find the glimmer of hope in this holiday season and pass it on and keep it going the entire year. Remember, it only takes a spark to get a fire going. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

References from the songs “Pass It On” and “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”


Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at Her Facebook page is