As our nation is once again deeply stirred by a horrific act of violence in Orlando, Florida, where fifty or more people were murdered in a gay nightclub, we desperately grieve and vainly attempt to find the solution to addressing the persistent threat of attack in our world.
Gun control is an obvious issue and demands new legislation, but the attempt of outer control for an inner conflict of global proportion is only part of the change required. We have to address the mind of violence and our nation’s addiction to it.
I’ve lived in Los Angeles for decades, in part because of my draw to the vast creative community here, and because the spirit of this city is truly inspirational. We birth stories from ideas, and put them on screens. We create films, television shows, and stage productions through the recognition that our inter-connectedness is a vital element to a successful collaboration. In any production, it’s the required respect for all talent – from an actor to an accountant to craft services – that establishes the unity to fulfill the vision.
But something has happened in the world of media, in the consciousness of humanity, that has taken us to the dark side. We have become addicted to violence, and it has become our entertainment. We can change laws, but we have to change our minds, as well, and that’s going to be hard to do in the context of the saturation of violence we are exposed to on the screens we watch every day.
Can you imagine what would happen if there was a moratorium on the use of weapons in the film and television industry for one year? If we did not see trailers, commercials, films, or shows with guns or acts of murder and violence, for an entire year? A heroin addict doesn’t get clean without eliminating heroin from their system. An alcoholic doesn’t become sober without giving up alcohol.
In so many aspects of life on Earth today, we are facing extremes that are endangering the sustenance of life as we know it. That status demands we make bolder moves and take more extreme measures to correct the patterns that have brought us here. What if we used the power of media to inspire humanity to return to unity and love instead of contribute to our addiction to violence? There’s just as much money to make in the long run, if not more. If there was any industry aware enough to use collaboration for the higher good of all, and with courageous enough players to make such a stand, it’s actors and filmmakers.
Each of us, in whatever field we endeavor, have the power to redirect the consciousness of humanity to a focus on our infinite capacity to love and heal. Whether an actor who refuses a role with guns involved, a writer who transforms a violent script, or a service employee who offers loving kindness to their customers – we can look to the choices we make and the actions we take, to ensure they are feeding our souls and hearts instead of igniting our fear-addicted minds. We can, and must, use our gifts to lift us to the higher realms of possibility in truth and love.
Orlando was my home through junior and high school years, and as a young adult. It is also a city with a beautiful spirit, and I join millions in sending my love and prayers to everyone there, and especially those suffering through this tragedy.