The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Excelsior Springs Standard.

This weekend was a bear. As I write this, I’m still reeling from the four, yes four shootings that happened in various parts of the country. 

Reports indicate police think the El Paso gunman to be the author of a racist, anti-Hispanic manifesto. Although police have not released a possible motive for the shooting that took place shortly after in Dayton, Ohio, rumors and theories swirl. Two mass shooting took place less than two hours apart in Chicago. 

In addition to this, I read a family member’s hateful comment on Facebook. She said, hopefully, members who identify with a certain political party will smother themselves. A member of my church family relayed the story of a man who scared her in a restaurant. Whether the situation arose due to her race, gender or simply because he was a jerk, it doesn’t matter. She should have never been made to feel this way. 

This morning, I read another account of a Hispanic grandmother being asked if she was in the country legally as she shopped for Band-Aids. 

The divisiveness in this country — in our very own community — has reached an all-time high. People seem to love acting as trolls on social media. Other people take the bait and … well, it turns into one of those comment sections. 

Why? Why does this have to happen? What is the point? 

I know we will disagree. As I’ve written before, I believe we learn when we disagree. Well, I should clarify. We learn when we disagree and we respectfully discuss our views. We don’t learn when we argue. 

There are ways to disagree and respect each other’s right to have an opinion. Did you know I often disagree with my sources? I’ve printed statements I think are completely ridiculous. If you noticed my news articles always say things such as “he said.” That’s why. They said it, not me. 

I’ve also printed opinion articles and letters to the editor (both in print and online) I vehemently disagree with. There are also letters and editorials in both of those places I completely agree with. My point is this: people have a right to their opinions and beliefs. The problem comes in when we don’t respect each other. 

My family member did not respect others as she hoped they smother themselves (I don’t think she really wants this, but that’s not the point). The man who frightened my friend did not respect her by acting as he did. The El Paso gunman certainly had no respect for those in that mall this weekend. 

Does the media, in general, add to this division? Absolutely! That’s one of the reasons I got into journalism. I found myself growing tired of editorials being printed as fact instead of opinions. I can’t stand the constant arguing on cable news. No one can learn as they talk over each other. So, what can we do? 

First off, get your news from various sources. Did you know most of the mass media outlets are owned by a few companies? Do some research on who owns your favorite. I would dare to say, many of you would be surprised. 

Don’t take everything you read as fact without doing some research on your own. I will say, you do need to actually read the articles though. I can often tell by the comment section on my articles, many did not bother to read beyond the headline. 

Secondly and most importantly, respect each other. Don’t be a troll. Why would you want to be one anyway? Are you really that miserable you want everyone else to be unhappy? It’s not about you! It’s also not about me. It’s about us … and we need to start acting like it. 

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