It’s almost too much to take, isn’t it? Or, it is too much to take, but to ignore the latest tragedy seems childish in the face of such suffering.
Today, the headlines confirm the worst mass shooting in US history. A gunman walked into a LGBT bar in Florida and proceeded to kill people, because, if his father has it correctly, he was outraged by seeing two gay men kiss.
Imagine the panic and pandemonium. The outpouring of blood. Hearts broken. Lives shattered.
And in the background, our Republican presidential candidate, rather than expressing condolences and compassion, congratulates himself on “being right” about terrorism, according to Time news.
Yesterday, the headline was of a deranged fan of Christina Grimmie, who shot her during an autograph session. Reportedly, she greeted her killer with open arms. Shots fired. A life ended. In the days and months preceding, the dead are counted in black men and women. There are stories of rape, abduction, madness.
Part of my job is to create and to reflect news on social media. I struggle. Is it better to spread the word? Does it raise awareness? Direct dialogue that drives discussion? Does it make space for solutions? Or does it feed a future killer? Does the spread of the story create a sense of normalcy: “This happens in America. It’s what happens when people have guns. It’s what happens when people are different than me. It’s what happens.”
My heart wants to unplug. I have a vivid imagination. My empathy comes from a faith that is founded in a creator’s compassion and love for all. What god has created belongs solely to god. We cannot destroy it. We have no right to judge it. What we do not understand on earth may become clear in the hereafter. Or not. It’s possible that when we reach heaven, our confusion on earth simply will not matter.
But here, it’s a mess.
A friend recently attended a conference held by a global consulting firm that handles major national surveys specializing in health care issues and insurance across private and public concerns. What do you suppose was the top health concern of the next ten years? Mental illness.
My husband works with the developmentally impaired and disabled. There is little funding, few and fewer resources, and a growing list of consumers. You don’t find many “friends of the disabled,” especially when they are adults, rather than children. If a disabled adult becomes a problem, they also become part of the criminal system.
I am not saying that all disabled persons become public offenders. And I’m not saying all public offenders are disabled. What is a family to do, though, if they believe their family member is about to crack? The family of today’s killer has apologized. Too late, but what proactive measures were available?
Evil is on a roll, here, friends. Hell on earth is separation from that which is good and true. To be separated from love, from the basic necessities of life – food, shelter, security – turns animals crazy. The phrase “mad from deprivation” is not poetic. From what are these killers deprived? What deprivation is at work in our society?
I want to unplug. But to remove myself from the reality of the world is a child’s blanket. For goodness’ sake, my prayer is for leadership that examines mental illness and the resources required for a holistic system of care, that can make wise decisions for this growing population. I pray for a legal system that is equipped to identify and prosecute using just measures.
On social media, we will see hashtags that pray for Orlando, for the LGBT community. Anymore, it feels like #platitude.
I was raised on the phrase, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it at all.” Later in my life, I heard, “Never miss a good opportunity to shut up.” Yet, the written word wields power; it can be used for good. Confused about the profusion of social media, I confess to a slim hope that news coverage will drive awareness and fairness to prevail.
(Photo credit: Police officers outside of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. (Photo: AP) )