Sunday, July 22, 2012

people are more important than things...

First, I would like to say thank you to all of the people who have written their thoughts about the shooting in Colorado. Each one of you has had different insights that have helped me gain a larger perspective. You have helped me keep anger and sorrow in check, and have helped me begin to move forward again.

I will admit that I have not been kept in check enough, however, to keep from feeling frustrated and upset by the lack of compassion and tact that many Internet users, political lobbyists and campaigners, column writers, and casual conversationalists have shown during the past few days.

May I just say how very tired I am of seeing people use the Colorado shooting to further their own ends. Be they political, religious, whatever -- the things I have been reading and viewing online and hearing in conversations are ridiculous. There's a little something called empathy, that being the ability to place yourself in someone else's position and attempt to see and feel things the way that person is to gain an understanding of what that person needs. I do not believe that empathy includes turning someone else's horror into an advertisement, a sarcastic meme, or a campaign slogan to carry out personal aims.

Timing, people. It's all about timing. Now is the time for prayers, for letters, for people to take an interest in not just the horror, but in the welfare of those victims of the shooting. Now is the time to focus on what can be done to help the families and friends who are left with empty spaces in their hearts that no poster or promise can heal. Now is the time to think of those who were injured, whether by physical bullets or emotional shrapnel. It is not the time to be funny or sarcastic, or to attack. The attack has already happened. It is in the past -- that cannot be changed -- and the witty comments, snarky remarks, and biting insults are doing nothing to help anyone move forward.

It is about healing. Yes, we must learn from this. We must take into consideration the measures that should be taken to keep something like this from happening again. But it is about the timing. And now is not the time for insensitive words or photos.

Forgive me if I seem close minded or unfeeling. I am not angry, not about the shooting or about the responses to it. I am sure people don't mean to be insensitive. There are so many ways that people deal with tragedies such as this, whether they were there or read about it in the paper. But the focus must be on what can be done for the people who are left to remember the horror they experienced, rather than dwelling on what someone should have done or should have said or what measures should have been in place before. There is no "should have" anymore. There is only "can do."

We live in a society that is all about the moment. We take a situation and try desperately to use it to show how clever we are, or how right we are, or how obvious "the point" of something is. I feel that we as a people are too quick to the punchline and too slow to notice the effect an event has on the individual. We aim to impress the masses, rather than to comfort the one.

We must think before we speak, post, text, and share. We must think beyond the punchline, beyond the political agenda, beyond the religious ideal. We must think of the person -- the person with a face and a name and a family and a future -- for people are always more important than things.

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