I’m sure you’ve heard about the shooting in Colorado by now. If you haven’t here is the link from CNN.
I don’t ever comment on the news, politics, or anything that might be slightly controversial even thoughI am news obsessed But this morning I just couldn’t take it anymore. I have to get some thoughts out of my system and send them out into the universe.
When I turned on the Today show this morning, I was shocked and deeply upset by the news of the theater shooting in Aurora. I sat down with my coffee and oatmeal and couldn’t eat or drink because I was crying. I even stopped to say a a few Hail Mary’s, because I didn’t know how else to react. I don’t know any of the victims, but I am fellow human.
And, I have to say, for the first time ever, I’m a little worried about leaving my house to go to a place where there may be crowds.I’m not agoraphobic. I enjoy crowds and being around people. I did attend the Jon Stewart Rally in D.C. and had general admission tickets to Gaga for crying out loud. Crowds don’t really bother me. I have also attended midnight showings of Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, and a few others. Never would I have imagined something like this happening at a movie.
While what happened in Colorado is tragic and abhorrent, I also feel deep sadness for the people in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and of course, Israel. Yesterday, there was a suicide bomb attack in Bulgaria yesterday that killed a bus full of tourists. I mean, what the hell? It seems there is so much turmoil everywhere, and I just hate it. I feel so terribly helpless and sad. The thing is, those international events of violence are part of a revolution, and while they are tragic in their taking away the lives of the innocent, unfortunately death and violence are a product of revolution and of course religious extremism (which is a whole other topic and I’m not about to digress). I don’t like it, I’m not justifying it, but I get it. However, my brain can process violence caused by war.
Shootings in schools, malls, college campuses, and movie theaters; random killings of innocent people just because–those kinds of massacres make me afraid to produce children. These events make me want to build a bunker so I can shelter myself, my family, and my friends. Acts like this make me question my faith in God and in humanity.
I think one of the reasons that makes a situation like this so upsetting is that the killer showed warning signs, or had a manifesto, or was bullied. Of course, oftentimes society doesn’t get an answer because the killer was shot or took his own life. At least in the this case, society may get answers, although to what end. Knowing his motive isn’t going to change anything. It didn’t change the way we felt in Norway when Anders Behring Breivik shot 69 teenagers. It was only more upsetting to find out why he murdered those teenagers who were at a camp learning about tolerance and diversity.
Of course, even though I’m tempted to hide and never come out of my house, I know that is not going to be happen.
I was a senior in high school when 9-11 occurred. A club I was involved in had planned a trip to New York. We had been planning it for almost a year, and our club sponsor had no intentions of canceling the annual trip. The trip was scheduled for 3 weeks after the attack, and we were all weary of flying. Some of the parents pulled their kids out of the trip. My mother did not. She wanted us to go. I asked my mother why she wasn’t pulling my sister and I out of the trip and she said, “One Mean MFA, when it is your time to go, it is your time to go. You can’t stop living because of tragedies. If that was the case, you’d never live your life.”
I remember thinking she was wrong. I wanted her to come with my sister and I because I was afraid. Of course, the minute I saw Ground Zero (still smoking from the attack) I knew how important this trip was and that it was going to shape me in some way. I remember a few things very vividly from Ground Zero. I remember the smell, the energy of the place–there was such a sorrow in the air (cliche, but how else can you describe the feeling of death all around you?), and I remember the disdain of the native New Yorkers who shouted at our group for stopping to see Ground Zero. One man shouted at one of the teacher chaperones telling her, “this isn’t a tourist attraction. Why don’t you go see the Statue of Liberty instead?” She countered by saying, “It’s important for them to see this. It’s important.” He was hushed after that. That visit to Ground Zero was a lesson in the evil that lives on this planet. That humans are very capable of destruction. Still, time moves forward, people heal, and life goes on. The Earth continues to spin with the good and the evil together. There isn’t much we can do about it.
What happened in Colorado is simply devastating and, quite frankly, frightening. Acts of terror, like the one this morning, can happen anywhere; in a small suburb outside of Denver, on a college campus like Virginia Tech, at a high school–anywhere, at a mall–anywhere. That’s what makes them so horrifying. Where is the next one going to happen? Still, I know I can’t go hide for eternity to avoid being a victim in something tragic. As Husband, so eloquently put it, “something is going to get you.”
Even though these events make me question humanity, seeing the victims being interviewed is shocking, some discussing bravery, remorse, and regret not sure why they were spared while a friend or family member was not shows me that not all people are bad, most are just victims of circumstance. Of course, the media finds ways to make tragedies about politics discussing how the Obama campaign and Romney Campaign have pulled attack ads in Colorado–as if they are doing the people of Colorado a favor. This isn’t about politics, this is about the tragic human condition. The same is true for Bloomberg who is calling for Obama and Romney to explain how they would prevent attacks like this. Can’t society be given a time to process this before we decide who the hell we’re going to vote for?
Tragedies like this are tough on everyone: victims, the families, politicians, and society. The responses to these acts are just as tough. The news is calling on “experts” to discuss gun control and speculate on motive, and analyze how this will impact the election in November. Meanwhile the rest of America is wondering if it’s okay to go see The Dark Knight Rises, not necessarily because they are afraid, but if it’s socially acceptable now that this tragedy occurred (what is the etiquette in a situation like this?). Then, of course, there are people like me who are deeply concerned with the welfare of humanity and know only one way to put a Band-Aid on the symptom: say the Rosary.