Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Stay strong and don’t allow for the distortion to become the extortion of the mind

Noah Cervantes, Staff Writer

When I heard about what happened last week I nearly lost it. I turned on the news immediately after I first saw the #prayforparis tweets just to make sure I was reading everything clearly. My heart broke every time a new statistic came to fruition- more dead, more injured, more sophisticated plans.

The aftermath of all of this really isn’t better either.

Now we are hearing people’s ideas on how to prevent horrendous things like this from happening over here. How you or I personally feel about how to solve problems about terrorism, borders, refugees, guns, or anything else isn’t what I’m talking about. I have no “solutions” to any one of the ever-increasing problems that come up day by day.

No solutions, just one man’s advice.

Stay strong.

As hard and contradictory as it may seem to say, don’t think about what happened. Please allow myself to explain before I offend anyone else. What I am not saying to do is to pretend these atrocities in Paris, Beirut, and anywhere else did not happen. I am not saying to forget about the victims, their families, or the collective legacy they now have. I am not saying to even forget about the individuals who work to inspire fear through violence. It is relatively impossible to do any of these, anyways.

As hard and contradictory as it may seem to say, don’t think about what happened. Please allow myself to explain before I offend anyone else.”

What I am trying to say is to not let these horrendous news reports add to the current view of the world as a cold, desolate rock. Do not lose faith in humanity. Do not let small pockets of deviations sway your opinion of all humans. Do not stop believing in the possibility of peace.

Hearing about all of the hate in the world seems to bring us back to every time we are shocked and horrified by acts of violence: the Boston Marathon Bombing, the atrocities at Sandy Hook Elementary, the infamy of September 11th, and hundreds more across American history. This is where I begin to reach what I mean by forgetting. I feel like if you add up all the vitriol and violence that is show to us depression and anger are the only outcomes that can come from it.

Consequently, if you harden yourself to the evil in the world it affects you less. Stay positive and stay strong and see what happens to you. You begin to see life less for what it is shown to be and more as to what it could be. It’s possible to see the good in every situation even if it’s fleeting.

Being a millennial and having technology almost integrated into my life, I understand that it’s easier than ever to get caught up in news stories and breaking info. Unfortunately, most of these stories that are shown are negative.

Comparing the good and the bad, it’s rare to find “heartwarming” stories or good deeds done by complete strangers. But that is not reality. Yes, bad things do happen all the time but good things also happen quite often in life.

Before writing me off as just ignorant and advocating for viewing the world through rose colored glasses, please consider that an ignorant person does not realize that there are people in the world who are full of hate.

What I am trying to say is to not let these horrendous news reports add to the current view of the world as a cold, desolate rock.”

I understand full well that there are some people who are so misguided, mistaught, and mistaken that they feel others must not exist. I understand that this country has a stigma associated with it to other parts of the world. I understand that the issues that have plagued humans from existence have no clear answer- if they did, those problems wouldn’t be “problems” now would they?

Forget about the fact that the world is criminally imperfect. Forget about the thought that you can do nothing to change the world. Forget the preconceived notions you may have that the world and the people on it as a whole are evil and just getting more depressing by the minute. Instead, please hold onto hope.

Hold onto the positives in life. Focus on the images of Parisians and humans around the world coming together to mourn and show love. Focus on the relief efforts that flood our media streams in the aftermath of any horrible world event. Focus on the leaps in humanitarianism that go unnoticed every day.

You don’t even have to branch out to these examples. Focus on parts of your everyday life that subtly restore your faith in humanity. Look for the stranger opening the door for you in the middle of a crowd.

Look for a young person hugging a member of the elderly. Keep track of all the “thank yous’” and “you’re welcomes” you hear. Keep track of warm songs quietly promoting coexistence and the large shows of strength that say “we will not be afraid. We are strong.” When you add these experiences up, you might just see the world differently.

Stay strong. Easy to say and infinitely harder to implement. Remember and honor all those who have reached an untimely and unfair end. Be accepting and understand that, no, not everyone will share your views. That’s not in our nature.

Be vigilant to the fact that violence persists in our world- it’s just one that we live in and one we have to work with. Do not fall to the weight put on our shoulders daily from evil that is shown. Acknowledge it, accept it, and then forget. Remember the good in life and remember that we will go on.

I apologize if I turned you off to my opinion on current events. If I have come off as naive and stupidly optimistic, I apologize for that as well. My intentions are not to seem ignorant and move on blindly- I only wish to explain that staying positive seems like the only useful mentality to have in the aftermath of sadness. All I ask of you is to stay strong. For yourself, for Paris, for this country, for humanity.

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Stay strong and don’t allow for the distortion to become the extortion of the mind