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Your Attitude Sucks

Updated on December 28, 2009

I live in one of the 25 largest cities in the U.S., and like any big city we have our share of crime. Recently, a particularly heinous act was taken by a young man against an innocent woman. She was murdered. While I believe all crime, particularly violent crime is bad, incidents like this one especially anger me.

I had been following the story on a local newspaper's online site. I usually read the comments posted on the stories, sometimes even responding myself. As you can imagine, if you've ever read comments on a news site, the anonymity of it tends to bring out a lot of rancor and vile comments from people. There were the usual comments of this sort calling for the young man's execution since, as I said before, this particular crime was especially grisly. As I read through some of them, I came upon one commenter who respectfully asked everyone to withhold their judgment and allow the courts of law and the “court of God” to assign guilt and penalty. This commenter (whom I assumed to be female) said that they loved the young man very much and wanted the chance to, herself, ask them why they did such a thing. Even though she expressed that she was angry at this person's actions, she showed no anger in her comments to the others. This, even though some of these comments by others on the site were foul and in a couple of cases thinly-veiled racism.

I allowed myself to be taken in by some of the anger, and I asked this person who expressed deep love for the accused if her attitude would be any different if the accused killer were a stranger and the person who was killed was their family member or loved one. I did not expect the reply I received.

This poster on a newspaper comment thread explained to me that she is a person of faith and due to that she loves everyone. Consequently, she would perhaps feel worse for the accused if he were not known to her and had happened to kill her own loved one. She again expressed that these actions hurt and angered her because of her relationship to this person, and that he made a poor choice which will cost him. She went on to explain that regardless of whether it is a stranger or not that person is “someone's someone” and they still have family and others who love them. She insisted that he will need to face what is coming to him, and that is right. Her next statement hit me like a ton of bricks and caught me completely off guard. She said, “everyone of these people deserves your prayers. Pray for us as we lost the battle along the way too.”

I pondered what she said for a moment, and before I even realized what was happening, I was crying. I don't even know why because I still feel that this individual should be punished, but in that moment and at this writing I also understand that the family is being punished as well. I was deeply moved by how someone could turn natural anger at something so despicable into pure love. She expressed to another how faith, hope, and love are all we have in these situations and that “love is the greatest of all: It cannot fail.” As I was reading these words with tears streaming down my cheeks, I was thoroughly reminded that there will be no winners here, even after justice is served...only broken homes and families.

Sometimes life's most powerful lessons are taught in the most unlikely ways. I had started reading those comments with a shred of intent to jump into the fray and show how angry I was along with everyone else. Quickly, and without my consent, a person like me who almost never cries, even when faced with big emotional events, was reduced to a blubbering baby as I tried to take it all in. The pain and suffering of that faceless individual on the other side of the computer screen came through to me and I empathized with them.

I woke up today with a renewed self-mandate to redirect toxic emotions into positive endeavors. Hug and kiss my wife, show the dogs I appreciate their companionship, pick up the phone and call my friends, donate my time to those less fortunate. Step back from yourself and the routine of life occasionally and think about what is your contribution? How can you turn your anger, fear or intolerance into something that makes the world a better place to live in for just another minute?

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    • Jeffrey Neal profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeffrey Neal 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      William, thank you for reading! Sometimes when we open our minds to listen to others, they might teach us something. Honestly, I have always struggled with this.

      Quilligrapher, your comment is very flattering; thank you. Sometimes, for me, things write themselves. Unfortunately, that is often not the case and it's real work, but this was one of those times.

    • Quilligrapher profile image

      Quilligrapher 

      8 years ago from New York

      Well written, Mr. Neal. Your talent is obvious in every line. I think I will need to explore your other hubs as well. Thanks for writing this one.

      Q.

    • William R. Wilson profile image

      William R. Wilson 

      8 years ago from Knoxville, TN

      Great hub. This is a deep truth, beautifully expressed. Glad to be a fan.

    • Jeffrey Neal profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeffrey Neal 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      Eileen, thanks for reading. Yes, you are so right. We always have each day to be thankful for.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Gee like you say it was like a wake up call. We tend to see the worst in people. Sometimes there are circumstances, oh I dont know it is hard someone always gets hurt. Whether family of the offender or the one who suffered.

      Life can be cruel. Thats why I always love waking up each day and feeling blessed that I am still alive.

    • Jeffrey Neal profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeffrey Neal 

      9 years ago from Tennessee

      Kirsten, thanks for reading. So you liked the title trick, huh? ;) It was something else before, but this grabs a little better. I wrote this right after getting laid off, so there is some of my own emotion caught up in it. I still think back to the moment I read her response and tear up a little...it's just weird and I can't explain it. As I said, you never know when life is going to teach you something, and the lesson stuck to me.

    • kirstenblog profile image

      kirstenblog 

      9 years ago from London UK

      I clicked the link to this hub based on the title, it caught my attention for some reason. I did not realize what I was going to be reading! This is a really heavy hub man. I have always found it difficult to sift through the emotions I feel when these sorts of crimes are committed. I think people lose sight of the extent of these situations, more people are hurt then just the victim and their family as everyone has a mother at the end of the day. I do not affiliate myself with any religion but its this sort of tragedy that keeps me from being an atheist, I try to feel what I feel but leave judging strangers to the Great Spirit in the Sky :). At the end of the day I have only heard of crimes that were committed by strangers and I cannot possibly put myself in their shoes so have to leave it to god or whatever powers that be. Great hub by the way!

    • Jeffrey Neal profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeffrey Neal 

      9 years ago from Tennessee

      broussardleslie, I agree. In fact, forum participation is the only "writing" I've done for a few years now. If not for that little bit of practice expressing thoughts to a wider audience on public forums I'd be that much further behind. Some of the forums here are a bit strange what with people talking to themselves via their alter-egos...even to the point there are hubs about it...high drama!

    • broussardleslie profile image

      Leslie Broussard 

      9 years ago

      Visiting the forums and even commenting on hubs that I do not with, have helped me be a better writer, honestly. I have specifically worked to make sure that each sentence specifically says exactly what I am trying to say.

      In addition, finding ways to respectfully disagree in writing has stretched my talents.

      I don't recommend doing it a LOT, but it has helped me.

    • Jeffrey Neal profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeffrey Neal 

      9 years ago from Tennessee

      Wow, I appreciate the comments!

      @Scott.Life, so true. There are a number of factors, but unless we can change attitudes (and that has to start with parents), then it will probably just get worse.

      @Ghost32, I have actually seen that episode, and it's a good one...heck, it's just a good series.

      @broussardleslie, I have lurked some of the forums and even posted in a couple of threads, but I'm awfully political and can be argumentative sometimes. I'll just have to keep it light :-)

    • broussardleslie profile image

      Leslie Broussard 

      9 years ago

      Beautifully written! Looks like you won't need much "work" to improve your writing after all.

      I practice expressing love by visiting the Forums here on HP :)

    • profile image

      Ghost32 

      9 years ago

      Beautifully written. It reminded me of an episode from the old Kung Fu TV series starring the late David Carradine. What follows is paraphrased, quite possibly badly so, since my memory is dredging across quite a few years, but:

      In that story, Caine (Carradine's character) is asked if he is angry at the villain of the piece due to the villain's evil intentions. Caine's response was something to the effect that he definitely had to oppose the man's negative actions but could not judge what was in the fellow's heart ...because he could not see inside that man's heart.

      Flash forward: In the mid-eighties, I worked for an insurance company where one of the highly efficient female clerks clearly did not like me. I managed to work around that most of the time, but it did puzzle me a bit--after all, I'd done nothing (that I could recall, anyway) to make her my enemy. Only after more than two years of this did another coworker (and friend of the clerk) enlighten me: The lady who radiated hostility had been raped some fifteen years earlier...and I more than somewhat resembled her rapist.

      Thankfully, I'd never even traveled to the state in which the crime had been perpetrated, but it did elevate my understanding considerably. I've been a touch better at not making hardcore snap judgements about other people ever since...whether their behavior seemed to make sense on the surface or not.

    • profile image

      Scott.Life 

      9 years ago

      In our rush to assign blame and punish the evil we see, we sometimes forget that we are reduced to evil ourselves by responding to it. The case you talk about was very horrific, I have read through the briefs and the things that were done to this young lady were beyond belief. She is gone now and this man accused of her death will be too very soon. Somewhere I am sure his parents are grieved and shamed by his action. What are we to do, for so long our answer has been to lock people like this away and remove them from society but this has done little to alleviate the issue or discourage it. We as a society in general have reduced life to a trivial thing and worth little yet we are shocked when someone actually manifests this belief in murder. What are we shocked at that they did it or that it is becoming all the norm and no longer shocking at all? I have no answers for situations such as these accept to express sorrow for all involved.

    • Jeffrey Neal profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeffrey Neal 

      9 years ago from Tennessee

      Thanks for your compliments, Highvoltagewriter.

    • Highvoltagewriter profile image

      William Benner 

      9 years ago from Savannah GA.

      Wow, well written and something I need to take in...I often forget how powerful love is when there is so much hate every were! Thank you for your insights and welcome to the Hub Pages! (Since I see you are some what new)

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