Emotional Precision

I want to not focus on the latest tragedies, at any given time. I don't want to be manipulated by events and media coming from other places and people. Part off that is probably a resistance to the out-of-control feeling of grieving. Grieving for those we knew, or had some substantive connection to, is legitimate and appropriate. But I have a harder time allowing myself to be drawn into the flood of emotion, the helpless feeling of drowning, swept away and around by the currents of events and of evil, for people I only have a tenuous, distant connection (if any) to.

Instead I make efforts to resist this wearying overwhelming, while not cynically denying the humanity of the grieving, or the legitimacy of their pain. One way I do this is to look for the bigger picture. If someone was killed, and injustice in that instance sprang forth, however painful and real the event was, was it an anomaly or part of a pattern? Is it part of an improving pattern, or are things worsening? Is it possible that this event was bad, but the overall pattern is one of improvement? Can we acknowledge and support the legitimacy of mourning and passion for an event, but see a measure of hope in positive movement in a larger pattern?

What I don't want is for an evil instance to overshadow a better pattern, for the unjust anomaly to become an excuse for politicians to grab power to solve a problem that already is moving in a positive direction. And of course if there really is a pattern of festering, unaddressed injustice, and the nature of the problem is truly responsive to governmental action, then I absolutely would support action to address that.

But in my understanding and observation and experience, the problem most often is not that new principles and laws need to be created and put into practice. Creating effective law is hard, and fraught with the gravity towards unintended consequences. Much more often the requisite principles are already embodied in existing laws and structures; they are just not being implemented in good faith, with a full effort.