A week after Orlando: Will anything change?

When mass shootings happen, we always learn something new.

There’s a new group of victims – school children, co-workers, LGBT people, church people, marathoners, bystanders, concert-goers; from different places – Sandy Hook, Littleton, Orlando, Boston, Paris, Belgium, Scotland.

There’s a new perpetrator – a jihadist, a disgruntled worker, a mentally ill person, a terrorist cell, a soldier in a network, a madman, a neighbor.

And we always have the same impulses.

 

We want to engage

We want to look away

We want to bear witness

We want to know the victims

We want to know the heroes

We want to know how to live in a world where these things happen again and again

Without turning to stone

 

We want to make sense

We want an answer

We want one answer, simple, obvious

We want everyone to agree with our one answer

We want to be right and everyone else to be wrong

So we turn on each other because

We want to know who to blame

 

At first, we want comfort

We want to comfort

We want to give – blood (an intimate gift), money, support, candles, vigils, flags, prayers

We want to cry

We want to embrace

We want to hold our children even if they are grown

We want to know who to fear

 

A week later, we still care

The funerals continue

We know some of the survivors now

And understand that this will never be over for them

The news promos: Tapes of 911 calls released

And we turn off the TV

Because we can’t bear anymore

 

We wait to find out if this one is the tipping point

Or maybe the next

When we figure out that multiple causes mean multiple solutions and we try them all

That letting hate breed more hate gives it more power

We try to believe that love is greater than hate

But we see that sometimes it’s not

A week later, we still care

And that is something.

 

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