Green Dots, Orlando, and Stanford

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A little disclosure before I get too far:

  • I am a husband
  • I am a father
  • I believe something has to change
  • This post has nothing to do with barbells or training but is more important than anything else I have written to date

The events of the past several months that have played out in the news and public come at an opportune time in my life.  During the past week, I have been involved in becoming a Green Dot facilitator for my job at the local university.

During the middle of that training, the events at Stanford unfolded in the news. Then this week, the events in Orlando have taken center stage.

And through it all, we watch.  We argue and debate through our various social media channels.  We blame guns, we blame religious ideologies, and we blame politics.  But we fail to blame ourselves and our cultures inability to truly be proactive in these events.

When we watch the replay of these events, we ask the question, why didn’t anyone do anything.  We boast that if we had been there, we would have done something.

In the Stanford situation, two grad students acted and they acted as quickly as they could when they realized something was wrong.  I put them up there as heroes.  But I am also left with the terrible question, why did they have to get involved?  Where were Brock’s friends or the other party guests that were willing to say…no, this isn’t happening tonight.

That is the problem that we as a culture have to deal with and face.  We are a reactive culture that likes to blame things for the tragedies that occur.  We, finger squarely pointed back at me in the mirror, are a culture that believes there is a “solution” to our problems that we have to find.  But we as a culture are unable to admit that the solution begins with us.

The sad truth about the Stanford rape case is that it would not have made news, if not for a judge that failed to hand down a proper sentence for the crime.  It was not the rape that made the news, it was the punishments phase that brought the outcry.  It means that we as a society, accept the crimes when we believe that the punishment is adequate.

Through my time sitting in the Green Dot class, I was forced to recognize that these sorts of crimes affect close to 100% of the population in some way.  We all probably work with, know or are related to someone that has to deal with these things daily.

So how do we fix it?  How do things get better?

Intolerance…intolerance to the crimes that are occurring around us and a commitment to doing something.  We have to stop believing that just because someone is in our circle of friends or peers that they are incapable of terrible actions.  We have to keep our eyes open and aware of what is going on around us, and stop believing it isn’t our problem.

It starts with being strong enough to tell our friends that they are making a bad decision.  It starts with being willing to make a phone call when something seems out of the ordinary.  It means taking part of the burden on our individual shoulders and putting our personal agendas aside.  It means that right is right and wrong is wrong no matter who is involved or who is watching.

It means that we have to stop believing that these things will never happen to us or near us.  It is bigger than a hashtag or a meme or a really really good argument on social media.  It takes a concerted effort to make sure that the areas that you impact, do not tolerate these actions and we all commit to being willing to do something, no matter how small to be intolerant to these sorts of terrible crimes.

It means that we all have to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, would we have really done something or do I really believe that this is not my problem.

We as a culture have to stop waiting for these events to happen so that we can again bring up the topics we fight so vehemently about as the root cause and accept that the true root cause is we have accepted these things will happen.

As I said at the start, I am an optimist and believe that change can occur.  But only when we, as individuals, commit to not tolerating the crimes.  Change can only occur when we stop standing with those affected and start standing up for them before tragedies occur.

We can do better and I know that it starts with me.