I’m sitting here waiting for my movers to arrive to begin the next phase in my life in St. Pete.
I finished packing awhile ago. I’ve done a little of that last minute cleaning that needs to be done. In the in between, I’ve been reading and reflecting on the Pulse Orlando shooting.
Another mass shooting.
My initial impulse is that there’s so much badness in the world. Mass shootings happen nearly on a daily basis in the United States. A man caught in the act of raping a woman will likely spend no more than three months in a county jail for the crime. You know, because of good behavior. An entertainer was shot by a main while signing autographs after the show. Folks are rioting over soccer matches. Archaic diseases are resurfacing because people won’t vaccinate their kids. Our government hiding information about unsafe water. And on…
How do we continue to cope with this sort of violence?
How can we feel like we make any difference with so much badness?
One thing that’s been helping me is looking for the helpers. Thousands are trying to donate blood in Orlando today to help the surviving victims. So many are trying to donate that One Blood can’t accommodate them all today, and are asking them to return later in the week.
Crowdfunding through various sites is also occurring to help the victims and the families affected by this terrible shooting (donate here, here, here, or here – I went with the first link on a friend’s recommendation.). Thousands have been raised already.
In the case of the Stanford rape, discovering the woman’s rescuers helped me regain some hope for humanity. Two men who were cycling by noticed something was wrong, and they did something about it. To the point of chasing and tackling Brock Turner and holding him until the police arrived. Not everyone would do that.
In the other examples I gave of badness in the world, the helpers might not be as obvious. But I think Mr. Rogers is right that they are there.
With this shooting there is such love, hope, and persistence that is coming out of the badness. There are calls for empathy and love. There are reminders that we are all in this together. Some forget that we are all human. We all essentially the same, and that’s supported by science! Some might like to mark certain people as “other” and think they are better than those others. But it’s all abstract lines in the sand. Humans are humans. By hurting one, we hurt ourselves.
Overall I think love is winning. I think hate is on the defensive, and is throwing wild punches and trying to hit wherever it can. But it’s losing. We’ve got to keep fighting the good fight. We’ve got to keep gaining empathy. We have to keep listening to people’s ideas. We have to keep trying to gain understanding. We have to stand up for the right thing when badness comes around.
We are the helpers.
And we are winning, even if it some days it feels like we are taking one hell of a beating.