The President is right. We have grown numb to the news of another mass shooting in a school.
By the time this week is over with the news and shock and horror of it all will be replaced by some other news story. The grieving families, the survivors and the community in which this shooting and killing took place will live with this the rest of their life.
It’s become simply a part of the news cycle.
Children slaughtered in a school. Children slaughtered in a movie theater. Children slaughtered in a college. Children slaughtered in a church. Children slaughtered in a home.
Do those words even make us cringe anymore? Does the violence that was inflicted upon them in the last seconds of their lives in places where peace, security, love, learning and joy were supposed to be even stir our soul? Our anger? Our sorrow?
This post isn’t about guns or gun control. I know that the public debate will swirl around this notion—again – and it will move onto the next divisive debate that keeps pushing us further apart as human beings – much less Americans.
If I thought banning guns would stop the horrific slaughter throughout our country – whether one person or dozens of people – I would be the first in line to sign the petition. If I thought taking away guns from everyone in the United States would protect my children – your children – our lives – I would be standing on the front lawn of every Capitol in America and demanding it be done.
Whether you believe or don’t believe the 2nd Amendment does or does not allow us as Americans to own weapons of every imaginable size, shape and destructive capability matters little to me.
What matters, to me, is do we even love one another as human beings anymore?
It really all starts right there, at the core of it all.
Have we lost our humanity?
We hate people because of the color of their skin. We hate them because of their religion or what God they wish to honor. We hate them because of what color clothes they own, or the number or angle of the fingers they show us when they drive by us. We hate them because they killed a lion with a name. We hate them because of their political affiliation, whether they came into our nation illegally, who they wish to love, choose to marry or the call they made on the football field.
We are becoming people who simply hate people because they are people.
I would be lying if what happened in Oregon, or everywhere else in America, doesn’t frighten me every single day I send my children off to their life.
I imagine I am not the only one.
I pray a silent prayer every morning when they leave asking God to protect them and I pray a silent prayer every day of thanks they are home and sleeping in their beds.
Even typing these words makes me fearful as though the simple thought of worrying about it makes their life journey more susceptible to risk.
While the angry voices of blame, finger-pointing, debates over what the Constitution does or doesn’t say, will begin to overshadow our horror, grief and sorrow at the loss of life in Oregon, the numbness will return.
We will move on. We will find something else to occupy our time and our thoughts. Our Facebook and blog posts, tweets and talking heads and mouths on media will become exhausted in an orgy of words and recrimination.
But, we will be no closer to dealing with the truth.
You have to be loved, you have to give love, before you can love humanity.
Something tells me that deep in the hearts of those who have murdered hate has grown. It has grown because there wasn’t enough love to crowd out the anger, the hurt, the pain and the loneliness.
Inside their head, where the brain processes all things, hate invaded and defeated reason, compassion, understanding, terror and empathy.
I don’t know why, or how, but it seems to me we have to figure that out and soon.
There will come a day when instead of a gun, or a knife, comes armed someone with the capacity to destroy far more than the lives of a dozen young men and women, or dozens of children or an entire family of five. They will destroy thousands, perhaps millions, and with it, our humanity.
Individually we can all vow to push away from the table and reject the feast of hatred that has begun to envelope us like the darkness.
If we do, if we can, I do believe that, together, we can change the arc of the destiny that seems to be forming in front of us.
Something evil this way comes.
Only goodness can defeat it.