I saw something terribly disturbing the other day.
A friend posted on Facebook a picture of her daughter, standing tall in her IDF uniform, semi-automatic assault rifle prominently dangled over her shoulder.
I couldn’t believe my eyes!
How could someone do something this bothersome?
Oh, please God no. I am not talking about her posting the picture. The picture was amazing. The IDF is a noble and ultra-important institution. And pride in your children is just about the most important thing a parent can have!
No, I was disturbed by the fact that someone actually wrote to this parent taking offense at the picture.
Insensitivity to Gun Violence
Yes, someone said it was insensitive. Why? Because gun violence is currently rampant in America and people are dying on the streets. How can you be so callous as to glorify guns when the world is overloaded with such tragedy?
The only thing I hated more than the fact that someone complained, is that the author of the post then felt like she owed an apology.
Let me get something very straight here:
Stop being offended by everything you see.
Stop trying to create false connections between things because you are obsessed with finding fault in the things people do, and you wish to find ways to demonstrate how insensitive everyone else is.
And stop trying to push everyone in the world to apologize all the time.
And to the rest of us: Stop apologizing!
The Jewish people spent most of modern history running or getting beat down. Now we have our own nation and a powerful military that exists to defend that nation. And guess what? It’s not going to defend itself with hugs or flowery speeches. Those rifles (which, by the way, are used by militaries across the world) are absolutely essential.
They are not offensive. Putting them down would be offensive! Making someone feel guilt for carrying one here is offensive.
So I am not upset by the picture of an IDF soldier.
I look at it with pride. I will have a child in the IDF ridiculously soon, and even before it happens I already know I will be overloaded with pride.
But I’m upset that someone would dare tell a parent not to look at such a picture with anything less than the highest levels of pride. And equally upset that the parent apologized.
I remember when I was in college (many moons ago), I was following an online forum about Jewish-themed topics. At one point I found myself appalled at how upset people were at what I felt was an irrelevant topic.
What was eating these people up so badly?
They were bothered by seeing public Christmas tree displays in the cafeterias of their universities.
Yes, they were afraid that the Christmas-fervor goblins would jump from the trees and rob them of their autonomy to practice their own religion.
Even then I had no idea what they were so upset about. Were the tree people telling them not to practice their own religion? Were they threatening them? Were they making powerful and deceitful attempts to convert them to their faith?
Nope. None of the above. They were just celebrating their holiday.
How fragile of a connection to your own faith must you have to be bothered by others practicing their religion?How fragile of a connection to your own faith must you have to be bothered by others practicing their religion? Click To Tweet
Bothered by Everything
But for the longest time, this has been getting pushed into the American mind. We must seek offense in every word or action performed by others. We must find things to be bothered about. We must judge everything we see as an affront to our own lifestyle, and push hard to get everyone to conform to a societal view that discourages variety and banishes all cultures.
And this is not OK.
I can argue the logical difference between the rampant mass shootings in America versus Israeli soldiers carrying around firearms. It’s apples and oranges. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the difference between deranged murdering lunatics and young adults working hard every single day to protect a nation and the Jewish people’s right to a homeland.
But arguing that point does a disservice to the main point, which is we all need to stop being bothered by everything we see, and even if we are bothered, we need to learn to not let that interfere with other people’s lives.
A Picture Worth 1,000 Grievances
I don’t know how the thought pattern went, but I presume it was something like this: I’m upset and frustrated because terrible things are happening in America… and they involve guns. Hey, my friend just posted a prideful picture of her daughter in the army… and there’s also a gun. That’s poorly timed and insensitive! I must shame her for not thinking the matter through. This does not end until she apologizes to me, the victim of someone else’s thoughtlessness.
If you think like this often: Just stop it.
First of all, it’s not about you. It’s not even slightly about you. Frankly, neither the gun violence in America nor the daughter’s picture is about you. Even if an apology were needed (it wasn’t), you need to recognize that the apology would be to mass-shooting victims and not you… probably sitting in a New Jersey suburban condo, sipping chamomile tea and waiting around for the next thing that will bother you.
Second of all, just because you think there’s a connection, doesn’t mean there is. I’m not going to run around and demand anyone with a mustache apologize to me because Hitler also had a mustache. And even if their mustache were offensive (it isn’t), why would the apology be directed at me in the first place?
Refocusing Your Attention
Finally, the world is filled with real issues. Pressing matters we collectively should be working hard to solve. Poverty. Starvation. Child abuse. Slavery. Endless real pain and real suffering!
When you waste your time hunting for the offensive picture or word in the objectively normal and non-offensive, you’re wasting your time. You’re wasting the world’s time. And you’re tricking yourself into thinking you’re making a positive impact.
You are not.
You are not the solution. No, you exacerbate the problem while pretending like you’re noble.
For the sake of all that’s good in this world, knock it off and find something positive to do with your time.