If you only look at the world through the windows of the Internet and 24-7 news, you’ll spend a lot of time in a hateful, sad place. (Yes, I am aware of the irony of blogging this.) So I’ve been trying to limit my screen exposure lately, just like I do for my daughters.
But occasionally, I can’t avoid the TV at my gym, or I get sucked into the latest atrocity via my newsreader feed. And then I feel a raging fury dwelling within me, and I usually spend a lot of time rethinking the merits of the death penalty.
This is what set the Hulk-O-Meter off this morning:
An 18-month-old toddler was ejected from an SUV after it rolled during a police chase. Her father — and I’m using the word in the loosest, biological sense of the term — allegedly stole a girl’s purse, and then took off. The toddler was flung from the vehicle when it rolled, and then — taking her tiny, hesitant, toddler steps — chased after the SUV when it started to leave without her.
I swear to God, I see murder flash before my eyes when I think about that.
I think about my own daughters and the looks of bewilderment and betrayal on their faces when I do something that hurts or disappoints them. I think of the trust they extend to me without thinking, without hesitation. They have faith in me, because they are supposed to have someone they can count on, completely and absolutely. And that is the way it is supposed to be. Parents are supposed to be the first response and last line of defense for their children. We may not be perfect, we might occasionally lose our tempers or fail to buy the present or the ice cream cone, but we are supposed to be worthy of that trust.
And that is why, even after she’s been dumped from a rolling vehicle by the one man she should be able to trust with her life, the little girl gets up and runs after him.
That level of betrayal — that sort of stupid, thoughtless, and selfish variety of evil — makes my hands shake.
I realize there is very little that’s ironic or smart or original in this sentiment. (The snarky Internet commenter who lives in my head comes out and says, in a Comic Book Guy voice, “Oh, he’s against child abuse, how bold.”)
This is another reason I’ve passed by so many of the daily outrages lately. There are plenty of people willing to condemn and to comment, and I don’t need to add to the chorus. I may not be the Christian I once was, but I try to remember that everyone faces a hard struggle, and the greatest challenge there is in these times is to be kind.
But this is just too goddamned much. This is exactly the kind of behavior that should be met with all the outrage we manufacture for things like the plot holes in Prometheus, or the latest political circle-jerk, or, as I saw when I left the locker room, Kelly Ripa shrieking about cleanliness in ladies’ rooms.
So yeah. Hulk smash.