The Biggest Monsters In Society Are All Around Us

The Biggest Monsters In Society Are All Around Us

We've been told that everything happens for a reason, but violence has no reason.

As a child, I recall sitting in on a class. We were asked what we wanted most in the world and, putting all superficialities aside, we (a class of 23 children) collectively decided we wanted world peace. At the time, such a wish didn’t seem too off the wall. We were innocent, young, and naïve dreamers who were guarded against the evils of the world and spared pain we later would know so well.

As I got older, like most kids, I was taught more about the world and learned about the horrors that exist. Never did I think that I would live them. Wars, riots, chaos, destruction, and violence seemed worlds away. I pictured those things in poor, underdeveloped, and least governed places but not America: the land of the free, the place people flee to in order to escape violence of their own.

However, lately I have seen firsthand that these evils do exist… and they are close by, surrounding us. These tragedies seem unreal and are incomprehensible, but as they move closer to home, we realize how awful the world truly can be. Violence plagues us. It's in homes, streets, communities, cities, states, countries. This lack of peace is breaking us as a society, and soon will be fractured beyond repair.

We lose so many people so young because of violence, drugs, and alcohol. Many people do not even get a chance to truly live because they are punished for one mistake at the cost of their lives. Life is unfair, as we all have been told repeatedly, but not everything happens for a reason. Violence has no reason. And it needs to stop.

The world is a constant threat of violence, and it doesn’t have to be. But still, we feed into this violence; we are the violence. It’s scary, terrifying actually, that you never know when or where violence will strike. It’s a shame that we have to worry when we go to concerts, sporting events, the movies, vacation or anywhere with crowds because those once enjoyable days of relaxation have turned into cautiously checking your surroundings and having a lingering anxiety in the back of your mind. The biggest monsters in the world shouldn’t be humans.

Everyone always talks about how we need to change in order to make the world a better place, but no one wants to give the effort to make that change. The world doesn’t have to get worse before it gets better, but we often pardon each other’s actions, and we need to stop. Punishments need to be made where they are deserved, yet we cannot take punishment into our own hands. It is necessary that we, as a society, realize this. We should not be at war with ourselves. We need to reunite, learn acceptance, and reevaluate our goals as a nation. We should not be fighting ourselves. We need to work together to create a world of harmony instead of dividing to do the opposite.

Differing opinions are not wrong, fighting about them is.

Prejudice is not knowledge, acceptance is.

Words are not proof, action is.

Bullying is not power, unity is.

Cover Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.


Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.


I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.


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