The lowest common denominator

6 08 2010
Omar Thornton pulled out a gun at Hartford Distributors and shot to death several of his coworkers. What he did was shocking. The reason he gave, sad to say, was not.
It’s nothing new for a disgruntled worker to react with violence on the job site. We even have sort of a nick name for it: Going Postal. It’s something that has happened from time to time as far back as I can remember.

The reason that we find for many of these sad instances is often a person feels that management, or the company, or even their coworkers have it out for them. They feel singled out, and think that whatever occurs between themselves and management, or whatever, is somehow an evil plot. That there is some grand conspiracy against them, or that people are out to get them. Somehow they are being singled out for ill treatment or abuse.

Most of the time that abuse is only in their imagination. It’s a paranoia that creeps over them, and they think, somehow, that there is some honor in reacting with violence against the abuser.

Everybody is prone to make excuses for their failings. That’s nothing new either. We point fingers and blame others for our shortcomings. We’ve been conditioned to do that over the last many years as society and politics has played up victimization as the reason for most everything evil.

That Omar Thornton cried racism should come to no one as a surprise. It’s the easy peg to hang his own failure on. It made him faultless in his own mind.

While I don’t pretend to know all the facts here, what I have heard and read is that Mr. Thornton had been asked to resign his job after being caught on video stealing. That his stealing had nothing to do with his race is probably safe to say.

Was Hartford Distributors a racist place to work? I have know idea. But what I do know is most people born after 1970 have little clue what racism is. Real racism.

Racial, and racism are two separate things. Many people confuse racial actions, desires, and motivations, for racism today. They don’t understand that someone acting in a racial manner, or holding racial views, is a completely natural act. We ALL do it. Black, white, yellow, whatever. Everybody around the world has always been partial to their ‘tribe’. Nothing new to that.

Preferring people of ones own race over people of another race isn’t racism. Not allowing someone to be your friend because of their race IS racism. People not liking the music that another likes isn’t racism. Not allowing it to be played is.

Not liking how someone wears their hair, or pants, or how they talk isn’t really racism either. What many chalk up to racism today is really just jerks being jerks. The world is becoming full of a**holes. It’s not ‘racism’, it’s ‘a**holism’. Race doesn’t really play a part.

Today many people cry foul over things that are trivial by comparison to what there forefathers bore. Most people today never saw a water fountain with “Whites Only” written above it. They have never experienced not being allowed access to something because of their skin color, or had someone call them “boy”.

Does racism exist any more? Of course. Only a fool would think otherwise. But true, too, is the fact that the cry of racism has become a crutch for problems that have little or nothing to do with race anymore. It’s been, what, almost 50 years since the Civil Rights Act and integration, and our schools are worse now than ever. Voters have placed blacks into high public office, yet poverty still weighs down that electorate.

There was a guy here a few years back who I really respected. He was the janitor at the Post Office, drove a school bus, and ran a successful service station all at the same time. A few years ago he bought (or leased) a building in what was then a predominantly white area of town and opened a small convenience store. That it failed should have come as no surprise.

Why? Not because he was black, but because the location had been a convenience store before he opened his, and that one had failed, too.

But it’s what he did afterward that cost him not only my respect, but the respect of many others as well. He hired a young (black) man to burn a cross in front of the place. Thing was, he did so with the police sitting there watching him, and when they caught him he ‘sang’.

You see, burning that cross would give him his out. His excuse for failing. At least that’s what he’d intended. He could have closed his doors on his failing business, walked away, and claimed racism to be the fault.

Things should really be so different now one would think. Perhaps we went about things the wrong way. We corrected many of the ills of the past, but drove a wedge between people at the same time. We made being a victim something it should never have become in our society. We made it a handy scapegoat, and a reason we can fail without guilt. I don’t think Martin Luther King would be happy with things today, and he would also find little being practiced to what he preached.

Did Omar Thornton experience racism on his job? I don’t know. What I gather by reading is that Omar Thornton had a history of crying racism whenever he had problems on a job. This wasn’t his first time. But even if he did, is that a reasonable excuse for his actions? No. But in his mind it was all the excuse he needed when he failed at life.






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