I’m weighing in on the Orlando shooting in the only way I can: let’s be a little nicer to each other.
After something like this happened, isn’t that what we all need most anyway? Some good old, stand-together, we-are-Americans, we’ll-fight-this-as-one….kindness?
Every single one of us hearing about this mass shooting wants to blame someone. We want to point the finger and say, “THAT is the problem”, “THEY are who we should blame”, “THAT is what caused this to happen.” We want to blame someone because we, as a country, are hurting and we want someone to pay for what happened.
We are enraged for the LGBT community, because the target was a gay nightclub. We are enraged for the Latino community, because those names appeared so often on the lists of the dead and injured. We are enraged because another mentally ill person snapped and went on a killing spree. We are enraged because another person had access to weapons who shouldn’t have. We are enraged because someone, somewhere, “should have known.” Someone, somewhere, “should have done something.”
In every situation like this, every shooting, every killing spree, every tragedy, a list exists. A list of all the things that never should have happened. Of course there is — we make this list, every time, because we want to come up with a way to stop this from happening ever again. So there’s this list of every single thing that is someone’s fault, every single thing that we can assign blame for. Every step that was skipped, every sign and red flag that were missed along the way. I get that. We’re angry, we’re hurt, we want to help, we want to fix it…..and we don’t know how.
What I don’t get is why we’re attacking each other. This is the time to stand together, to talk to each other, to support each other, to listen to ideas other than your own — in hopes of helping everyone. This is the time to think about the greater good, and not just yourself and your opinions on the subject.
This tragedy did not happen for one singular reason. It was a situation born of a hundred situations and variables. So it needs to stop being a debate, and start being a conversation.
Because this IS a discussion about hate crimes.
This IS a discussion about protecting the LGBT community.
This IS a discussion about gun control laws.
This IS a discussion about mental illness.
This IS a discussion about terrorist acts on American soil.
It is a conversation about all of that, and more. These are ALL factors. They should ALL be considered. Solving one of these problems, making changes for one group or one law or one situation, will not be enough. The only thing that will be enough is discussing it together, getting everything on the table, and coming up with a solution together. So that we can do better next time. So that maybe, if we’re lucky, we can prevent a next time.
So maybe we all need to be a little nicer to each other. We should think about the victims in Orlando, about the families and friends who are getting news of death today, instead of ourselves and our own opinions.
My advice? If you don’t know how to help, go donate blood. By doing that, you are actively helping someone live. Don’t trample around the internet calling people idiots for disagreeing with you on gun control or terrorism. If you’re feeling helpless, go save a life.