The Internet has been full of people slinging opinions around after the terrible tragedy of 50 people losing their lives at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Normally, I do not use this blog to get involved in such controversies. Normally, I am content to let people believe what they want to believe and spew forth whatever vitriol they want to spew. Normally.
There is nothing normal, though, about a madman bursting into a night club and gunning down a hundred or more people (dead and wounded). Nor was there anything normal about the response to this shooting as I watched the social media outlets. If I had to sum up the response, it seemed to me that it would have been “Sorry all those people died but, if you guys had listened to me about (fill in the blank) this never would have happened.”
What I have found particularly horrifying about this event and, in fact, the response to mass shootings in general is the high level of us vs. them, I am right and you are wrong thinking expressed in so many of the responses. This sort of black and white, fundamentalist thinking is precisely what allows people to begin to rationalize marginalization, oppression and persecution of the “other” (whoever that may be) and, with the proper mental aberration, even murder of those who do not fall into the category of “us”.
Those 49 faces that are starting to appear in memorials? They were fellow human beings who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. What you think about guns or immigration policy, for example, is completely irrelevant at this point. There will be time for such discussion when cooler heads can prevail.
What is relevant, what is vital, is that we, as a country, step up and offer whatever support we can to the living victims and their family, friends, acquaintances and beyond. What is vitally important, in my view, is that those people, people just like you and I are not left to bear their sorrow alone because everyone is so damnably busy pointing fingers or espousing their favorite cause.
This is a chance to show your fundamental humanity, folks. Donate blood if you can, contribute to the relief funds, use social media to express your deep condolences and support of those who are left behind. Leave the politicking behind for a little while and extend your heart and hands openly.
For all the healers out there, this is a time to ply your gift unreservedly and with all the strength you can muster. For those who are magically inclined, there is work to be done making sure that the ways are open for those who died, that protection and healing follow those who survived and that healing spirits are everywhere available to help and console where you physically can not be. It is so trite to say that our thoughts and prayers are with those in Orlando, but let that really be so and lets back those thoughts and prayers up with action.
I understand that tragedies of this sort prompt strong feelings in people and that many folks have opinions about how these monstrous acts could be prevented. I certainly do. Right now though, let’s stop being pundits for a short time and allow ourselves to be fully human, feeling the pain of those effected by this horrific act and acting with compassion and love from that empathy. Do not harden your hearts and look at this as just another example of how you are right but allow yourself to move past your opinions to see the people who are so direly effected by this event.