When tragedies occur, it’s in our nature to want a reason. WHY did this happen? HOW could it have been prevented? WHO is to blame? WHAT can we do to stop it from happening again?
If we can identify a cause, we can bury the uncomfortable truth that we have much less control that we’d like to think. Lately, however, the reaction to tragedy has been to scramble frantically onto our soapbox of choice and explain it all away.
Too many guns! Not enough guns! Homophobia! Homosexuality! Muslims! Christians! Trump! Obama! Illegal immigration! Race! Police brutality! Processed food! Vaccines! Abortions! Global warming!
We live in a world where bad things - terrible, horrifying, gut-wrenching things - happen every single day. And instead of coming together, we let them drive a wedge even deeper into what is an already dangerously divided society. We pick and choose “reasons” for these atrocities and use them to bludgeon anyone who disagrees.
As I’ve watched and cried and raged over recent events like the Orlando mass shooting (and the deafening silence of so many who claim to "love"), the death of Christina Grimmie, the “sentencing” of Brock Turner, our joke of an election process, our corrupt government, the transgender bathroom brouhaha, and all the other pain and suffering and injustice and ridiculousness that is happening every moment, I can’t help but wonder what I was thinking to bring children into such a fucked up world.
How the hell do I explain to them we live in a society where someone thought he had the right to murder 49 innocent people because they were different than him? And how do I explain that instead of reacting with shock and grief and horror, many flew right by logic and straight to their keyboards, desperate to prove they know WHY it happened and HOW it can be prevented?
For now, I’ll shield them. But as they grow, I hope to teach them sometimes there is no reason except that evil runs rampant in our world. I hope to teach them to react with compassion, to feel grief, and to recognize the immeasurable value of a human life no matter how different that life is from their own.
I certainly can’t pretend to know why awful events occur. But I can do my very small part by raising good, compassionate people who know how to spread love and light and peace. That is my fight. Living my humanity, recognizing the beauty and fragility and preciousness of life, and teaching my kids to do the same.
For the families and friends of the victims of these tragedies, our hearts grieve with you. May your loved ones be honored by our commitment to choose love over hate every day.