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« Freedom and People Killing People | Main | Blogging, Bikes and Bullshit »

The Ripple Effect


A line in my song “Prodigal Child” goes:

“I used to lie in the long grass and watch the clouds go by, as a child my world was happy, only people made me cry.”

Sadly today it is still people who make me cry. I will go so far as to say there is not a single thing wrong with this world today if it were not for people.... Or to be more precise, People Misbehaving.

I speak of course of the school shootings in Connecticut. I can handle the occasional natural disaster, but I can’t understand why people can’t behave properly and not kill other people. It makes me sad… It makes me cry.

It seems to me the biggest drive in life is to affect the lives of others. We can do this in a positive way or we can do it in a negative way; unfortunately many people do not figure this out.

Young people especially. Bullying, vandalism, destroying things, which if taken to extremes includes killing people; all effect the lives of others in a negative way. The events of yesterday were so horrendous they have now affected a whole nation, and even beyond.

If any good is to come from this insane act, it can only be that we need to realize and teach our children that this urge to affect the lives of others is natural.

It takes almost no thinking or effort to do this in a negative way; when with a small conscious effort it can be quite easy to do so in a positive way. Who knows what affect a simple smile, a kind word or action can have on the rest of the world.

Actions both good and bad have a ripple effect, cause a chain reaction so to speak.

Like a ripple, the affect has most of its power felt by those close to its source; further out the ripple has less affect.

A harsh word or unkind act can ruin someone’s day and may push someone who is unstable enough over the edge that they might just kill someone.

Giving the finger to a fellow traveler on the highway may cause that person to drive angrily and aggressively, causing a crash that kills someone.

On the other hand a simple smile or kind gesture might make someone’s day and that person may change their whole outlook on life and they become a better and happier person.

Large disturbances affect those close to it for a long time, further out from the source the ripples get smaller and people forget sooner.

On the other hand a small ripple started by a simple smile, if joined by enough other small ripples can form a large wave that travels far and affects a lot of people.



Reader Comments (14)

LIBERAL MEDIA in MY feeble mind is to blame! VIOLANCE in movies and on the TV in the papers is everywhere. This country as with many others, even in the UK where guns are now all around. MUCH different from Dave and my childhood days. This country the USA is now in control of the masses that beleive that any and every thing is Ok no one cares anymore do as you please its your right. Even in my town of Parker, Co as in every town now there is a GUN SHOP go to Walmart Target you name it GUNS FOR SALE. Colorado a state that was once a conservative state is now LIBERAL drugs NO problem POT NO problem, ITS LEGAL come on into the do as you please state. We even have a PRESIDENT that is an admitted POT smoker! not to mention the many other things including flag burning that he was involved in. 80 yrs old now I am sorry that my kids and GRANDKIDS will have to grow up in this kind of world, GOD HELP THEM! OH BY THE WAY, MERRY CHRISTMAS (not BLOODY holiday) EVERYONE

December 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Crump

As a 4th grade teacher I do have concerns about how the students will react to this sort of news. Individuals can do awful things. Governments can do similar atrocities but on a much larger scale. Rarely (if ever) do leaders have to answer for them.

When 9/11 happened everyone was horrified and two wars grew out of it. Three thousand people died in the 9/11 attacks - the same number of people who die every four weeks on America's highways, month after month after month. This doesn't include the thousands who are injured, many critically with life changing injuries. And what are we doing about that?

Two months after I became a police officer I took a dead two-year old out of the back of a car - killed by a man who was so drunk he didn't even know he'd been in an accident. The little guy was strapped safely into a car seat but the side impact was so great the car simply crushed him.

Whenever I hear of some awful incident like Newtown I think of that two-year old and how he never had a chance - and the papers never mentioned it.

December 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Thurber

I'm a grown man, and I spent a lot of yesterday morning weeping, as I read the news coming out of CT.

I read it as I watched my two year-old daughter innocently play, and as I listened to her talking to me. I thought of all those kids who'd never hug their dads again......never get a chance to drive their dads to distraction as they started dating. I thought about all those educators who were taken away while trying to protect the kids they loved - the families who'd always have a void in them, and all those kids who survived, but forever had their innocence scarred.

When I was a kid, one of the things I was taught was how interconnected society was, and how hurting someone or something in society was to be hurting myself. That concept seems to have disappeared for the most part. People don't feel their connections to each other.....maybe that makes it easier to hurt each other.

As John Donne said a long time ago. "...And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."

December 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohann

A winters day on a deep and dark December. How deep , how dark does it have to get ? What image will turn the page , what number will it take , to cause enough revulsion to change gun laws in the US? What number is a accepatable body count ? When a flag flys at half mast for these acts , it is for shame !

December 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlee

ANGER That is what I AM FEELING ANGER at parents that let kids get into this kind of situation, I read to day that the shooters MOTHER had guns and took him to a shooting range! What did she expect him to do? Go duck hinting? ONCE again I BLAME 100% this LIBERAL world that we are in now. UNTILL this country get back on track and TEACHES the kids TRUE values, take control of the way the kids are going things will get WORSE. What happend to going to CHURCH on Sundays, Having values in GOD WE TRUST, STOP the kids from seeing movies and video games that preach violance and killings. IF we the parents stop taking our kids to movies and buying them videos then the media will loose the profits they make and start going in another direction. MILLONS are made by movie companys and video co on this GARBAGE! No wonder the democrats get the votes. No wonder they get support from the media, ITS ALL ABOUT PROFIT they care nothing about the outcome

December 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Crump

John, You need to cut back on your time watching Fox News. This is not a liberal/conservative issue. It hardly helps by polarizing the blame. This is a community problem that needs to solved by our society. It is not an issue that is going to be fixed by not watching TV, playing video games, movies or reduced by going to church more. These acts are conducted by individuals that do not feel part of society or community and we need to understand why. We also need to look at why US has a firearm death rate that is 36 times UK. Until this is figured out, let's live civilized, with compassion, and in an inclusive manner. Happy Holidays.

December 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHH

With all due respect, firearms and guns are not the issue. The lack of principles and values is. The line has been crossed in many areas that has led to the social dysfunctional behavior of individuals.
In the case of the CT shootings, it is too early to assess what happened and why. Jumping to speculation is not an admirable behavior trait and is indicative of the social problem. There have been multiple misrepresentations of the events in this case. The truth may never be known such as the shooting in Portland Or. What was not reported, except by KGW, was the armed citizen who cut short the number of lives lost by engaging, without shooting, the shooter. More criminal acts are mitigated by armed citizens than by the police. Americans are way to quick to shoot from the hip (more frequently from another place) with their mouths. We tend to be too extreme in statements too soon. The end result is superficial solutions that only address symptoms.

December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSJX426

@John Crump. FWIW, It is the liberal media which is (generally) pro gun control and the Right which is (generally) anti- more control/pro NRA.

Clearly there needs to be a ban on assault rifles and large magazine guns. These are the weapons involved in mass shootings. Why does anyone need such a weapon?

Having said this, even banning all guns will not change the American culture of owning guns. Bad guys will still get them but at least more controls will make it harder, There is a reason why there are so many less incidents per capita of this kind in other countries.

December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJW

This shooting and all the others including the one at the Aurora Co theatre was spured on by the Liberal media and the violance in movies and videosthat they produce, Why do you think Obama and the Liberal Democrats get ALL the support that get from Hollywood and movie actors? The Democracts are in favour of all the things that are corrupting this counry, Same sex marriages, Gays Homos divorce rate going up, Parents have NO control over there children, Let them do as they want watch the violance and garbage, Let illeagals in break the law, Go against the things this country was founded on. You have only begone to see the start of the demise on this once fine country,They have NO values or morals anymore. Live on the country who needs to work let the govmt take care of you. Anything goes who cares by the way HH I do NOT listen to Fox news, or the Huff post. I get the facts.as a once private invrstigator for 50 years I know how the system works, Iknow what can be covered up and how corrupt the govmt is.

December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Crump

@ John Crump
So, no need for further gun control then?

December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJW

John Crump,
I think 3 comments on one article is enough to get your point of view across, please alow others to have their POV. I don't know why you don't start your own blog instead of highjacking mine.

December 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

Gun control IS needed NO question about tha.t BUT The vast majority of these shootings are done by early 20s shooters. I think the reason for this is PARENTAL CONTROL If you do NOT take control of your kids in the early years give them everything they want and not provide ANY guidance, THEN they take command of theres and YOUR lives, you have to monitor what they do, LIMIT the time that they have with TV and computers. Young lives are very influenced by what they see. They are curious about everything, FANTASY becomes REALITY very quick .I am sure DRUGS are also responsible for a lot KEEP track of who they are frends with, Involve them in SPORTS like riding a bike! NOTHING you do will be a 100% guaranty but if it will help.

December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Crump

We live in a broken world. All people have problems, some people have serious problems. I've never had over the top anger problems, etc but several years ago, for my own peace of mind and in an effort to make a small difference within my own sphere of influence, I decided that I need to let some things slide, exercise patience, and see the humanity in others. Even those who are annoying the hell out of me. For example, I once accidently cut someone off in traffic. I gave him a "Oops I'm sorry wave" and thought that was the end of it. I pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant I was looking for, got out of my car and started walking toward the entrance. Low and behold this redneck I'd cutoff comes roaring up in his car, screeches to a halt and starts cussing me out and threatening me for driving like an idiot! Now I could've cussed at him and asked him to step out of his car if he thought he was man enough, I have no doubt I could've pounded him pretty good. But I decided not to. This guy was driving a piece of junk car, didn't look like he had two nickles to rub together, and probably just needed to vent in front of his wife who was sitting next to him. I cut him off and he was pissed. Who knows what his day had been like up to that point, getting his ass kicked in the parking lot of a Golden Corral could have pushed him over the edge. He could've had a gun and ruined not only my life, but his, his wife's, his kid's. I apologized again, it didn't hurt me any and diffused the situation. I told my family about it. Who knows, maybe I started a ripple...

December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Smart

This world would be a different place if everyone focused on creating at least one positive Ripple every day.

Glad I found your post as I am keen to seeing other people teach others about the power of the Ripple! Great job!

Ripple On!!!

Steve Harper

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Harper
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