On the weekend that 31 people lost their lives in two separate mass shootings, the Quad-City Times Sunday business section featured a story titled “Throwing a Rager.” A Times reporter shared her experience smashing things up with a sledge hammer at the Quad-City business. Customers pay to destroy glasses, dishware, computer monitors and other stuff inside a rage room. The fee is based on how much time and how many items a customer or group of customers chooses to destroy.
On the surface, destroying inanimate objects has nothing to do with the mass execution of innocent people in public places. But rage has become the default drive for our country’s leadership and social media against what displeases or frustrates us. Can’t we say “Enough!” to the bad-mouthing in the Oval Office, Congress, the public square and social media posts and tweets? Let’s relinquish the rage, first by examining what actions we engage in that might contribute to the rage marring our country’s soul. Instead of venting our anger and frustration in a rage room, why not invest time in prayer, Scripture, the quiet of a chapel or church?
What have we done, collectively, as a nation, that leads to domestic terrorism? How have we alienated the young men in their 20s accused of mowing down their fellow human beings, at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on our border with Mexico, and in an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio? Texas Senator John Cornyn reportedly said that the death penalty would be appropriate for the perpetrator of the mass shooting in El Paso. Doesn’t that response simply feed the rage without addressing the root cause of the problem?
In a general audience in October 2018, Pope Francis said that anger, insult, scorn and indifference can kill — not the physical body, but the unseen spirit in a person. Instead, practice the love and mercy of Christ, the pope urged (Rome Reports.com).
Outraged Americans are calling for action — now — and even interrupted Ohio’s governor during a candlelight vigil for shooting victims in Ohio. We will not solve our nation’s ills with kneejerk responses. We have to practice and demonstrate perseverance and listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which comes only when we take time for prayer, the sacraments and coming together as a community of faith.
• Before the start of Mass, strive to be reconciled with anyone you have a problem with and resist the temptation to be indifferent toward your fellow human beings (CRUX, Oct. 17, 2018, Hannah Brockhaus).
• Read Pope Francis’ apostolic letter on mercy “Misericordia et Misera (https://tinyurl.com/yajvp6jh).
• Spend a half-hour in prayer or silence. Read Scripture.
• Mentor a student in elementary school, high school, college or just starting out in the work world.
• Support legislation that provides access to mental health services for children and for adults.
• Report social media posts that disparage, denigrate or encourage hate, vengeance or rage. The social media platform can remove them. You can also block a person or an account. Equally important, don’t fight back in kind; if you wish to respond, do so with grace and kindness.
We need to support one another in life-giving, spirit-affirming activities. Stay out of the rage room.
Barb Arland-Fye, Editor