Please forgive the scattered nature of this post, I think that there are just too many thoughts in my head right now to spending energy organizing them.
I’ve been reading a lot in the past week, much more in the media than I am on a typical week. Last Friday I was taking the day off work when the news about Sandy Hook Elementary hit on Facebook. I ended up taking a few hours to sit with my Grandpa and watch the news coverage, hearing the story as it unfolded.
Here are some of the things I’ve been reflecting on this past week.
Quick to Judge
I was appalled at how quickly the news media identified a shooter and plastered his face all over the news. Hate messages were sent, outlets picked up the name and even one friend on my feed asked Satan to “welcome him to a fiery hell for killing babies.”
Except it was the wrong name.
In the days that followed the amount of wrong information shared blew my mind. The wrong name of the shooter. The father was killed at home, no it was the mother. He was let into the school, no it was forced. And on and on. I can’t imagine the pain of hearing these lies, not just for families who were worried for their loved ones but for the wrongly accused and identified man who will forever be named in hundreds of news articles as a killer.
Quick to Relate
When something horrible happens we play associations. We think about Columbine nearly 14 years ago and someone interviews a parent whose child would be turning 30 this year. We talk about weapons used at Virginia Tech and the similarities.
We even relate this to seemingly unrelated things like music – Ke$ha catching a lot of media for her horrible song “Die Young” which, incidentally, released shortly after my cousin died this summer at 26. I understand. When it comes on the radio I want to scream but instead change the channel.
There was a pretty big discussion on a message board about the people from Newton who hate the attention, hate the media, hate everyone for watching tragedy unfold. And I get it, but I also think that we are drawn closer because we relate to the school, to our favorite teacher, to our own families.
Quick to Politicize
I don’t fault the President and other leaders for making statements in a time of crisis, as leaders it’s their responsibility to guide the nation. But when someone is hearing that their child, spouse, mother or friend is dead the last thing you want to hear is a debate on guns. You want to cry, scream, hit something, completely fall apart and do it without everyone in the world watching.
Asking a child “how do you feel” when they’ve walked out of a massacre is not about the story, it’s political. It’s all about ratings and what horrifies me is that most people don’t realize it’s a game you win by not playing. Not engaging in the hysteria and fear and accepting that you don’t need to know every detail.
There are hundreds of people in Connecticut (children, teachers, parents, first responders) who will never be able to forget the details of that day. Why would you ever want to know how those children were shot, or see the devastation firsthand?
Quick to Give
In spite all of the bad, seeing the good things happen is especially important for a nation. It may be hard for some to understand but when there’s a tragedy such as this we no longer fight like staunch political fiends. We find common ground. A parent in Texas cares for those parents in Connecticut because they have children in schools. Teachers reach out knowing they would do the same to protect their own classes. And everyone mourns the loss of life, especially one so innocent as a child.
People are rallying, giving #26acts of kindness and sharing in the hopes of inspiring others.
And I hope that for the sake of change and positive growth we continue those trends. The ones of caring and giving and looking out for our neighbors.