Benefit of the doubt
First off, I don’t in any way want to excuse the actions of the man Robin Kirk described in her story. Regardless of whether or not she “made the right decision,” his actions were unwarranted and extreme.
However, I think saying that this happened because he was a “toxic man” is unfair to him and the millions of other men who are not “toxic.” Instead of immediately assuming the worst about someone, I think we all should be willing to give people the benefit of the doubt more often. Many times, in uncomfortable or hostile encounters with strangers, we don’t know their circumstances or what they have gone through prior to our interaction with them. While his actions were disproportionate to the situation, I don’t think it is fair to assume that he could have been a murderer because of how he responded to Ms. Kirk. For all we know, he could have had any sort of personal trouble that contributed to him getting that angry.
Again, while this does not excuse his actions, instead of assuming the worst about him I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s spread more compassion and grace in the world, even to people who may not deserve it.
Culture of loudness
Wednesday, April 25, is the 22nd annual International Noise Awareness day – a time to encourage citizens to speak up for their right to peace and quiet where they work, live, and play.
The United States is a very noisy country. Americans are bombarded with noise from loud car stereos and loud motorcycles. Many neighborhoods are constantly bombarded with noise from leaf blower, lawn mowing, horn honking, dog barking, and car alarms. Stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and shopping malls often blast loud music at their customers.
American culture is a celebration of loudness. There are hundreds of weekend loud car stereo contests around the nation. Outdoor speaker systems and huge-screen televisions are common fare in suburbia. Many professional sports teams encourage their fans to be “Loud and Proud.”
The loudness of American life is very damaging. Prolonged exposure to loud noise may cause ringing of the ears, heart disease, aggravated behavior. hearing loss, and sleep deprivation.
Excessive noise violates an individual’s right to peace and quiet. Cities, counties, and states should enact strong anti-noise ordinances and statutes. Congress should reestablish the federal noise pollution control office. The EPA should enforce existing regulations against altering a motorcycle’s exhaust system for the purpose of making more. There should be a nation-wide ban on gas-powered leaf blowers--which are very loud and emit toxic fumes. The nation needs to quiet down.
Finally, individuals who support peace and quiet are encouraged to join Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet (www.noisefree.org).
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