Just Stop It

Likely you’ve seen the news this week.  Attacks, death, fear, and grief seem to be taking over our world.  Everywhere it seems like a new horror awaits us.  It feels like our world is falling apart.

Certainly we’ve been in the midst of great social upheaval.  It started shortly after humans figured out how to use tools and cultivated the land.

Human history is filled with the stories we see on CNN or BBC.  The things that happen today trigger fear while history is just a trivia game and source material for the next “Game of Thrones” episode.

Winston Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  Which of course, is a rephrasing of a quote from George Santayana (early 20th century philosopher and writer) who really said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Still, even with a solid knowledge of the past the future is a bit murky because there are new factors in play today. Things such as rapid global communications – we not only hear of yet another coup attempt in Turkey, but we get to see it unfold in real-time and not weeks or months later. Seconds after a police shooting the video is uploaded.  We see police officers gunned down as it happens.

That puts an immediacy in a world-wide audience.  The outrage, the fear, the anger, the hate, the worry, the grief all by viewing a simple headline.

Then as the event passes, the world wants change.  People yell for this to stop and then the inevitable arguing starts again – more/fewer guns, more/less police, declare war on this – and nothing real happens to prevent the next outrage.

We should never forget the great quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.” (Most often credited to Albert Einstein, but also to Ben Franklin, Alcoholics Anonymous, and as an ancient Chinese proverb.)  The problem is that when something bad happens, we react the same, and wonder why it happens again.

And again.

It’s time to change the conversation.

It’s time to remember the past and know this will happen again, unless we change.

The world doesn’t have to fall apart.  There are plenty of reasons to have hope.  Just four years ago I was treated for a cancer that was untreatable just 100 years ago.  People are living longer, we have more knowledge and information in our hands than at any other time in human history.  There are plenty of good things in this world.  There are places where peace and happiness happen.

If only we change us, risk, and have the courage to speak of hope and love.

Oh, I could go on and on about what you should do and how you can fix all this, but my father’s words still ring in my ears – the only one you can change is you.  I could try to influence your thinking and actions, but in the end father is right.  It’s me that has to change.  My actions, my words.

Which is difficult for me.  I am by nature a watcher, not a doer.  I don’t know if I can change to a doer, but I know I can do more than I do.

I have no real plan, but to start asking different questions and to start saying more.  Some of the ideas floating in my head are part of this novel I claim to be writing.  I think about today and wonder what kind of world this will become.

Perhaps, I could help change a world with mere words and a simple story.

Perhaps you’ll see more about that here.


About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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37 Responses to Just Stop It

  1. Chris White says:

    What a thought-provoking post, Andrew. We humans are indeed a strange species, spending so much time pondering self-destruction. Sometimes I wonder if it will take the knowledge of a giant asteroid heading earthwards to bring us to our senses. I think you’re right though. Change has to come from within.


  2. And again just recently in Munich. Just stop it indeed.


  3. Glynis Jolly says:

    Andrew, I’ve been both a watcher and a doer during my life thus far. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that you can say, explain, and even shout what is the obvious thing to do and everyone is going to ignore you. We are repeating history. It, of course, is not the first time or the last. We are Rome falling all over again. Once we’re in total ruin [again!], we’ll begin again and climb to what we think is new heights, which are just actually new mountains of the same height.


  4. Michael says:

    Lovely post, Andrew. I’m with on beginning at home. A choice for love and peace can have profound unseen implications I think, and what we see multiplied by the media are– I think– in many ways natural reactions to living a world based upon that age old mentality of fixing externals. It is external justice we want. External rules and systems of safety. External solutions to inner difficulties that are an epidemic in our human society…



  5. I don’t want to make this too simplistic but it did also seem like when the temps outside are rising, so did the violence. One person at a time can make this world a better place.


    • Interesting that you should mention that. Just last week I was reading a report on the correlation between violence and hot weather. There is a connection there. In my young years, I was a security guard for awhile and I did notice that we had more action in summer than winter. It is a part of the puzzle.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Elizabeth Helmich says:

    I am willing to be the change, but as you say above, knowing what to do for those of us more comfortable on the sidelines is difficult. I’ve written some poems about things like equality, cruelty, and fair treatment of all people. You are making me this I should tag these better, to make them more accessible.
    Wonderfully heartfelt post, and keep telling us your words!! ❤


  7. ljlhannah says:

    I think you said what so many people are thinking. I like you, feel my words are all I have to combat this violence we are seeing all over the world. This was a great post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Mere words have more power than most people give credit. As writers it’s our job to use our words to point out injustice and wrong. As the old saying goes, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Your words do more than you think they do.

      Keep writing and wielding those words.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. mukhamani says:

    It hurts to read about violence everywhere, it is as if human nature will never change. Yes, there is good too. Regards.


  9. Thanks for writing this because now I don’t have to. I would have written pretty much what you did. I too wonder, “What should I do?” And then figure it’s my children’s job now. This is the world I’ve left them. Luckily my daughter likes politics.


    • I still have the dilemma of “What should I do?” I know I can write, so I started there. I also know that I am not likely the guy who will head up some great movement or go into politics, but I know I can support those who share my views with my encouragement, and in some cases a little cash donation.

      But sometimes it’s enough to stand up and say, “This is wrong.”

      Liked by 1 person

  10. George says:

    Nice post , Andrew. You’re right, during times like this when everything seems out of our control, the only thing we can control is our own actions and words. If everyone does their share maybe there’s still hope for our society.


  11. Peace always begins with one person and spills over to others. Be well.


  12. Excellent post Andrew, wisdom amidst the chaos, we need more of that!


  13. jfwknifton says:

    The trouble is that so many people are totally, totally unwilling even to compromise, let alone change. And they know that they are right, that other people are wrong, so it’s OK to kill them, in large numbers if that can be organised.


  14. Coisas EM'adeira says:

    Amen to that!


  15. artseafartsea says:

    The only one you can change is yourself, is so true.


  16. Mahevash says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Things are really getting worse day by day…it is upto each one of us to speak up and express our disapproval. Looking forward to your novel. Peace.


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