Every morning I follow a routine I enjoy. I crawl out of bed, switch on the coffee machine that my wife has lovingly pre-primed, and head to the office to turn on the computer to read the news, check and respond to emails, and read various blogs. It's how I like to start my day.
The first thing I do is check the news, usually starting with the BBC website. Increasingly in recent times, I click on the link with a degree of trepidation, such is the flow of horror and misery emanating from the human world these days. I wonder what awful shit will stare back at me first thing in the morning. Today, however, the headline that greeted me indicated a new low for humankind, truly a level of evil beyond the comprehension of any right-thinking individual.
In Pakistan, 132 children and nine adults have been massacred by the Taliban. This madness comes on the same day that fifteen schoolgirls were blown to pieces by car bombs in Yemen, and in the same week that news broke of four Christian children being beheaded by ISIS psychopaths in Iraq. When I hear these things, it is difficult to articulate my despair. I lose all hope for our species as by these acts we are dragged deeper and deeper into a seemingly irreversible downward spiral, with maniacs like the Taliban, ISIS, Boko Haram and their evil, twisted ideologies, using children as "political pawns" in their insane strides to make the world theirs.
I don't give a flying fuck about their grievances with the US, "the West," or anyone else - presumably EVERYONE who does not share their demented views of how the world should function - as there is not a single reason, however lucid it may seem to them, that these barbaric, brainwashed fuckers could offer to justify or rationalize their depraved atrocities. Without conscience, these monsters are executing CHILDREN, every young life destroyed nudging us closer and closer to a return to the Dark Ages. In the grand scheme, we're probably already there and nicely settled in.
It is a couple of months over ten years since the horrifying Beslan school massacre in North Ossetia, in which almost 400 hundred people were killed, including a great many children. Like anyone I was stunned into numbness at that awful event, so much so that I felt compelled to include a reference to it in an email I sent to my promoting outfit's mailing list, only ever used to deliver information on our forthcoming shows. I remember clearly one response from a guy who upon receipt of it asked to be removed from the mailing list, as he had signed up to hear about concerts, not - I quote - my "fragile state of mind about the state of the world." I wonder how he is feeling today?
I vainly hoped against hope that the low humankind had descended to in the "modern era" with the Beslan siege might signal a turning point, whereby the perpetrators and those around the world who subscribe to such beliefs might begin to look inward, to question their methods, look at their ideologies, and find another way. But no, that is never going to happen.
My boss at the music store can hardly read the news these days. While he is a man deeply concerned about the planet, educating himself on environmental, economic and other important matters of life on earth, whenever such as today's events pop up in conversation, he tells me that his desperation at what is (increasingly) our dark world is "all too much," so - not in any ostrich-like way, but simply to keep sane - he tries to focus on the good and positive of the world, as thinking about the rest is unbearable.
These are truly terrifying times. And it is all too much. With each successive dreadful event like today's, the world changes for the worse, and it is ominously feeling like there is no going back. I have tried so hard in recent years not to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders like I have done so much in the past, but it's getting difficult not to, as that weight is forcing itself upon everyone's shoulders, whether we like it or not.