It’s all tragic

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post about the state of this world, but almost as soon as I posted it, I took it back down. I was frustrated and a little angry when I wrote it.

Then I reread it yesterday and reposted it, and then took it down again. I know, I’m indecisive. But mostly it’s because I meant, and still mean, every single thing I said, but I realize that I needed to communicate it better. So let’s try this one last time.

We are all aware by now of the massacre in New Zealand. 49 people are dead and it’s horrific. The idea that even a place of worship isn’t safe is quite unsettling to us as Americans (although not really all that uncommon in other places around the world). Among the wounded and the dead are very young children. It’s appalling. There are 49 lives that are gone from this world and for that WE MUST MOURN.

Once the media started covering this with fervor, all of a sudden all these articles pop up everywhere on Facebook saying, but wait look! Look at all these Christians that were massacred in Nigeria and there’s hardly any coverage about it! The world isn’t allowed to mourn for Muslims without equally mourning Christians. We must equally divide our outrage. But Christians being killed in Nigeria isn’t new. This conflict is and has been ongoing.

Incidentally, with a little research, I’m finding that the conflict in Nigeria is just as much about fighting over land between herders and farmers as is it about religion. (Also, I read an article saying that sometime in February, there were around 131 Fulani (Muslims) herdsmen killed by Adara (Christian) farmers in retaliation of an earlier dispute.) Fact is, there’s been conflict between Muslims/Christians/herdsmen/farmers for decades. People have been dying in Nigeria for decades. And because of that, WE MUST MOURN.

Not that long ago, Jewish worshippers in Pennsylvania were murdered in their synagogue. Not that long ago, over 100 were either wounded or killed at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Not that long ago, there were multiple active shooter situations in our schools. Not that long ago, people were killed because of the color of their skin.

Do you see what I’m saying? It’s not about one-upping. It’s not about my tragedy being worse than yours. These are all equally awful. These lives are all gone. And for that WE MUST MOURN.

It’s so easy to just hit forward or share…sometimes without even reading an article. I’ve been guilty of it myself. Of letting myself be outraged by comparison when in reality, there is something awful happening in this world on a minute by minute basis. We let the media decide for us about what’s most important at the moment and we act all befuddled that one thing gets coverage and another thing doesn’t. But the attention span of the American public is equal to that of a gnat and if you wait five minutes, you’ll have a brand new thing to be upset about. It’s like riding on a roller coaster. One minute you’re up in the air and the very next next flying down heading for the next climb. And frankly I’m tired of the ride.


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How long, O Lord?

I am an emotional wreck this morning.  I saw the new yesterday about the school shooting in Florida.  Mass shootings seem to be more and more commonplace.  It tears my nerves up.  It was just last week that my son’s school did a practice drill of a lockdown in the event that there was an active shooter on campus.  It’s just gut wrenching to me that they even have to practice such a thing.

But there are two things that I have found deeply disturbing.

First, the number of kids that were taking videos and doing Snapchats while all this was going on was alarming to me.  Nowadays, where eh-vah-ry-body has a cell phone, we all have the lovely blessing of getting a first hand look into the day-to-day lives of all our friends and neighbors.  People actually make a living doing You-Tube videos of themselves eating disgusting food and doing stupid (and dangerous) things.  But the thing is, there would be no living to be made if there weren’t people who watched the videos.  And honestly, I don’t know that humanity is all that much more narcissistic and me-focused than we’ve always been, it’s just that now we have outlets to promote ourselves that we didn’t used to have.

When tragedy happens, you can bet that these days that somebody got a video of it and the news media will gracious pay good money for said video.  So now, a school shooting happens and instead of HIDING and PRESERVING YOUR FREAKING LIFE, we have kids doing Snapchats that say “omg nooooo” while there are shots going off in the background.  It’s almost as disturbing as the shooting itself to think that while a classmate is lying on the floor bleeding to death, another is posting a video on Snapchat.  Do you see what I’m saying?  Nobody in the general public needs to see that video.  NOBODY.  There is no news value whatsoever there.  None.  Please please parents, school admins, and any other adulty person that has the ear of a child in school…please tell your children to protect themselves.  That a firsthand video of horror is nothing to compare to the value of their own lives.  That sending a Snapchat is just not worth the risk of calling attention to yourself when there is an active gunman SHOOTING PEOPLE at your school.

The second thing that stuns me about all this is the number of kids that are saying how disturbing the shooter was prior to all this.  That some classmates had even predicted that if there was ever a shooting at their school, this guy would be the one to do it.  And he did.  In this day and age where people get their feelings hurt when you look at them wrong, where your neighbor is somebody that you see when you are driving into or out of your garage, where people “just stay out of it,” and some mass shooting happens, you will always have those who will say, “I just can’t believe they would do something like this.”  But if you start to dig a little into the lives of these people that are doing such heinous things, you’ll almost always find all kinds of crazy, unstable stuff.  And you’ll also find people who knew about their crazy, unstable stuff.  And nobody says anything.  Because what can we do anyway?  You start to see how unstable a person is, how dangerous they could be, but who do you tell?  What do you do?  Everybody is so offended about everything anymore that no one would dare question the metal stability of a person who says disturbing things and posts pictures of themselves with weapons on Instagram.  I mean, if this guy wants to take pictures of himself holding a gun and post it all over social media, that’s his right, isn’t it?  The liberal people say so because nobody has the right to tell me what I can and can’t do with my life.  The gun people say so because nobody has the right to tell me I can’t own/take pictures of me with my weaponry if I want to.  Nobody has the right to speak up because it might be offensive to someone else.  It’s none of my business what someone else does or how they want to live their lives.

And so the shootings continue.  The domestic abuse and killing continues.  The child abuse and trafficking continues.  The awful horrible things just continue.  And we all sit at home and watch them live from the camera phone of a teenager lying on the floor at their school while someone is shooting their teachers and classmates.

How long, O Lord?  How long?