Tosin’s Images & Anecdotes (TIAA) is my self-assigned photography challenge of 2022. The immediate objective is to select one image from my inventory (a cityscape, landscape, portrait, oddity, etc.) each week and write something about it. This “something” could be the story behind the photo, a triggered memory in relation to the photo, or simply a reaction or reflection based on the subject matter featured. The long-term objective is to encourage myself to add more content to “La Vue Atypique”, which celebrates its first decade in publication this year.
What can I say about the photograph above?
I had been thinking for several hours what this week’s feature photo would be. I had two or three completely different ideas. After a very brief conversation via text with my closest friend, an idea dawned on me.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day in America, a holiday whose history is fraught with controversy (and yes, I’m being very diplomatic with my words). Since childhood, I’ve been raised to practice gratitude and take stock of my blessings. Spiritually and daily, I express gratitude for what I have and also for what I do not have. Both are significant when you really take the time to think about it. As a result, having a Thanksgiving-related posting didn’t really spark personal enthusiasm.
I would be remiss to not mention the perpetual occurrences of mass shootings in this country. According to the Washington Post, America has surpassed 600 mass shootings thus far in 2022.
I have commented and discussed gun violence and mass shootings in previous postings on this blog, including an in-depth article back in 2019.
I’m at a massive loss of how exactly to process this illness America has when it comes to mass shootings and excessive (and unnecessary) fatalities as a result. On a different forum, I did make a statement (out of anger and frustration) that I will share here and leave it for the record:
On this specific issue, I am very ashamed to be a citizen of this country, knowing that our own government continues to fail at addressing this. If we’re being truly honest with ourselves, it means we are a nation of hypocrites when we mock other nations regarding human rights. We don’t even have enough time to grieve or give proper focus to Wednesday’s shooting because, practically guaranteed, there will be another one tomorrow equally devastating or worse.
We are alive because we’re essentially not in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s what it has come down to currently. Some of the comments I have read here are heartless. Maybe America really doesn’t value human life…the statistics support this supposition compared to every other nation on Earth.
It’s always hatred and violence against people who are not like ourselves and it never stops. For the stupidest reasons and this will forever preclude this nation from progressing as a populace.
If not for my family, I would leave this country. We don’t even value each other as human beings, let alone all the political rants. It’s confounding.
People get gunned down…it’s “Oh well” in response from a lot of people. That kind of trivialization is mind-boggling.
Alas, this week’s photo is featured simply for the title I gave it back in 2018, which is also the title of this article. For whatever reason, when I first posted this image on my former Instagram account, it was received very well. I’m not a champion of understanding human behavior since it’s not one of my better photos by a long shot, but people loved it. The photo was a tribute to my favorite television program, “The Twilight Zone.”
In many ways, I believe we are living in a real life, real world version of this series, and it’s disconcerting to say the least. However, as I went around Seattle yesterday, capturing images and executing a timelapse video, I remembered my mantra of being grateful. There are so many people who have devoted their lives for beneficial causes and the betterment of humanity and civilization. There’s a small part of me that doesn’t want to give up on the battles to combat the several issues that I believe are hurting America exponentially. There’s that saying that’s akin to “People always say something is impossible until someone does something to make it possible.”
Oddly, it’s this reasoning that makes me disagree when people resolve that “America is lost” or claim the nation is a lost cause. I honestly don’t agree with this even though what I read in the media should have convinced me of this years ago. It hasn’t.
What I’m expressing is not necessarily about “hope”. It’s not about denial either. It’s about mindset. We have a serious and egregious problem in this country when it comes to guns and mass shootings (that’s a grave understatement), but I don’t think anyone can give up the battle to eliminate this disease that is solely endemic to the United States. I don’t think humans who want to live their lives in some form of safety can afford to sit this one out.
I think I just combined pessimism, realism, and idealism in my perspective towards this, which is probably better than succumbing to despair ultimately. This doesn’t reprieve my viewpoint about us living through the longest episode of “The Twilight Zone” ever made, to be clear. However, if one recalls the television series in its entirety, there were a few episodes in which the main character(s) escaped the Zone.
Alas, given life imitating art in this aspect, we should believe the impossible is, in fact, possible.
47 articles down for the TIAA challenge. 5 remain!