I have other posts I’ve been working on, but today, July 20th, the nation woke up to news of a shooting in Colorado at a midnight premiere of the The Dark Knight Rises. This post might be a random collection of thoughts and reactions, but it’s just what swirling around my head.
There are people out there who are hurt, who are scared, who are grieving, or who are gone forever. Let’s not cheapen it by, I don’t know, tweeting, emailing, and calling victims and their families for statements. I don’t know, the media is truly sickening sometimes. I understand that for reporters and such, that a major tragedy is the stuff that puts food on their tables, but it IS possible to do your job while respecting and sympathizing with the suffering of others. I’m just saying don’t be the ones that add to the pain by swarming in like vultures incapable of feeling anything or expressing regret for the loss of life. Go to the scene, report the FACTS (and unfortunately, some of you need to go back to school and take some courses in journalistic ethics to know what that even means,) and please, for God’s sake, stop going after people for a quote. Those who want and need to talk will be around, willing to do so. You don’t have to physically or virtually (by way of the internet and social media) stalk them!
Speaking of vultures, those people using this day to campaign and politicizing this shooting have either lost their humanity or never had it in the first place. What should happen? Should everyone have a gun so the victims can defend themselves? Should no one be allowed to buy, carry, or use a gun except law enforcement? Does this tragedy really have ANYTHING to do with Democrats, Republicans, Tea Party members, or any political groups? Look, the bad guys, the crazy people, the ones who intend to harm others will always find a way to do so. They’ll always be able to get their hands on a weapon. They’ll always be able to initiate trouble. The real solution would be for there to never have been such a thing as guns, but that’s not possible now, is it? Besides, this isn’t the time to turn that debate into an election campaign strategy. If you’re selfish enough to use death and destruction to further your own career, you sure as hell don’t deserve my vote or that seat you’re pushing so hard to get.
The real story here is the same story that was true and real after 9/11. How we can come together, love each other more, appreciate the presence of our loved ones, friends, and neighbors. The real lesson is one of compassion and community. And of understanding that none of us knows when this life will end for us, so even though we get caught up in work and chores, frustrated, tired, or angry, that we should take a moment every day to just step back and take stock of the good in our lives. That we can thank God or the universe or fate or whatever you believe in for the blessings we’ve been gifted.
Other countries and communities in the world face this type of violence and loss daily. They have become almost desensitized to it. Almost, but not completely, because you can never truly get over the intense lack of control and confusion following senseless death. We Americans are privileged to have less to compare these acts to, but regretfully, they are becoming more common here as well. But let’s learn from the world community and mourn the loss of life, whatever it’s cause may be. I’ll call this mass shooting terrorism, because it does terrorize the local and national public who wonder why, who fear and struggle to comprehend what has happened. But this isn’t the time to criticize people who call the shooter a lone psycho and reserve the word terrorist for people who are darker skinned or who pray differently. This isn’t about us, fellow Muslims, this is about the us of fellow Americans, of fellow humans. This is about the us of us all.
Whether you are a good person or you have sins to atone for, whether you’re Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Amish, Atheist, Unitarian Universalist, or any of the countless ways we label ourselves, if you’re a human being you’re affected by these things. Give thanks for what you have. Send prayers/good thoughts/hopes for a better future to those who need it. Grieve for those who are hurt or have died at the hands of other humans and hug your own loved ones a little longer.
Love. Learn. Live on, mindful of those who cannot do so anymore.