News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

January 18, 2011

MS. TAKES: Upsetting time even for an optimist

TERRE HAUTE — I am at heart an optimist. It has been a happy life and I appreciate that. It’s just that an incident such as that recent Arizona affair boggles my mind and I begin to wonder if I have misunderstood what life is supposed to be about.

It has upset me. Incidents of violence always upset me. The blame game starts and any semblance of rationality goes down the tube. There is plenty of blame to pass around and this tragedy was no exception. The thing is, there is never a single incident or single cause. It is an atmosphere of violent reaction which seems to have taken over our society.

The is, and has been, plenty of trash talk from people on both sides of the aisle. It doesn’t help to put your opposition candidate in the crosshairs. Then, when this tactic is picked up by all sorts of head cases who profess to “know the truth” and disseminated it on the Internet, it somehow becomes fact which, in turn, sets off the unstable in our society.

Should someone have picked up on this specific unstable individual? Surely being expelled from college with a note that he could not be readmitted unless he could present evidence of having received a mental health evaluation was a signal. Reportedly no counseling was offered or accepted. It was legal for him to buy a gun and clips of ammunition. Should his parents have intervened? Could they? He was past the recognized age of adulthood and, presumably, capable of making his own decisions.

But have we become a society using violence as a first reaction to a perceived wrong? Movies and television are replete with shootings and explosions as a starting point of a story. My current “favorite” is an ad for a vampire program featuring blood spurting as the male severs the jugular of the female with his fangs. Even when the “good guys” win, the dehumanizing element is unmistakable. If you are “right” it stands to reason the other guy is the “bad guy” and you are entitled to shoot.

I miss movies with happy endings and comedy without vulgarity. I need to believe that is normal and the violence is abnormal. I believe that.

I wish I had answers. I have only the urge to pull the covers over my head and wait for a better day. Civilization is supposed to be about getting along with others. Democracy is supposed to be about respecting the differing opinions of others.

I believe that will happen — eventually.

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send e-mail to

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Liz Ciancone
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Chimp-attack Victim Lobbies Congress Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande FIFA Rejects Suarez Appeal Against Biting Ban Israeli-Palestinian Tensions, Attacks Escalate Thousands Attend NYC Firefighter's Funeral Art of Haitian Machete Fighting Revived Soft Robot Fish Lead New Wave of Robotics Neighbors Mourn Killing of Texas Family World Cup Final Pits Argentina Against Germany Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Downside of Low Mortgage Rates? Less Selling Robots Gearing Up for Their Own 'World Cup' Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine 'Game of Thrones' Leads Emmy Nominees Raw: Funeral in Gaza for Family of 8 Raw: Rescuers Push Beached Whale Back to Ocean
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010