In the wake of the tragic shooting that occurred yesterday in San Bernardino, I got into a Facebook exchange with a friend last night that resulted in a flurry of well…absolute ridiculousness, to say the least…and ultimately, my deletion of this individual this morning. While I realize everyone is entitled to their own opinion and certainly, to broadcast that opinion on his/her own social media page–I have a very short tolerance for individuals who like to propagate their own agenda of bullshit negativity and cynicism–especially when they try to use a tragedy as a platform or backdrop to do so. Call it a pet peeve of mine.
Anyhow, so this individual essentially posted some b.s. status about the ineffectiveness of society’s use of “thoughts and prayers” in light of tragedies, such as the one that just occurred in California. Of course, he wasn’t the only one to do so. In fact, this little post has been making the rounds on my social media newsfeeds all day that more or less mimics what he had posted, albeit with a slightly more direct agenda targeted at–you guessed it–gun control and politics.
Now, don’t mistake me for some sudden religious freak that feels “God” can save us all–because let’s face it, even if there is a “God”, I’m pretty sure he’s washed his hands clean of the human race long before now–or we wouldn’t be in the predicament we’re in. So, taking “God” and religious out of the equation…I’d like to focus on the whole “meaningless platitudes” sentiment.
“Meaningless platitudes” … of course is in reference to anyone who uses the phrase “thoughts or prayers” in response to something horrible like what happened in that building in San Bernardino yesterday, or in Paris just a few short weeks ago…you get my point. While I’m not the religious type and “praying” isn’t really my cup-of-tea, I honestly don’t see the point in faulting a person or person(s) for wanting to express their sympathies online to the victims and those affected. Will the victims themselves see these individual sentiments–probably not. But to just discount the fact that there are people all around the world that–although they’ve never met those victims and probably will never know them beyond their photos and names on some media or news outlet–they still sympathize…is just wrong. These “meaningless platitudes”…as they’re being called are–for worse or for better–proof that there are good people out there. People who care. People who feel for and sympathize with other people not because they have to, but because they choose to. There’s this quote–though I’m not sure the speaker of it–that goes “Being human is given. But keeping our humanity is a choice.” And it’s so true.
What happened in California…what happened in Paris…what’s happening in Syria, Iraq…the list goes on and on… it’s not something that can just be fixed with stricter gun control laws or more hard-hitting politicians, as the above-mentioned post seems to rally for. Sure, do I think we need stricter laws in terms of gun ownership–hell yeah. People can say what they want about the 2nd Amendment and how it’s “our right” as citizens to arm ourselves…but that’s not what the 2nd Amendment was created and intended for. We have a right to protect and arm ourselves, yes. But there needs to be limits and people do need to be held accountable. The 2nd Amendment wasn’t created for people to go out and buy an arsenal of weapons and stockpile ammunition–LEGALLY–to then use against other innocent civilians. I mean, most of it is common sense. I mean, what did you really think that individual with the long history of mental illness and the shady dealings and possible fundamentalist/terrorist-ties was going to do with all those guns and all that ammunition–save it for a rainy day? Come on, people. But even with stricter gun laws–it’s not going to solve the problem entirely. People are still going to find a way to get the weapons. You’ve heard the saying, where there’s a will, there’s a way. There are evil people in this world who want to spread their evil and hate and sadly, they’re winning. They’re winning because they’re getting the good people to turn on one another, to discount even the smallest acts of humanity.
Now, I can’t speak for everyone else, but I can speak for myself when I say that by posting a sympathetic tribute to honor the victims of a tragedy…it’s with the purest of intentions. The Facebook exchange with my “friend” was in reply to his untimely negativity and uncalled for cynicism, first and foremost, and secondly–to counter his assertion that “such sentiments are made to made the individual posting said posts “feel better”. I don’t know about the rest of you, but conveying how I sympathize with and grieve for the loss of life and the injured in yesterday’s massacre didn’t make me feel better about the situation, not in the slightest. And that’s because I know that the bloodshed hasn’t ended. It might be a day or a week or a month from now, but they’ll be another story, another senseless tragedy that fills up our television screens. More photos and names of innocent people will flash across our screens, their lives cut short because someone(s) somewhere CHOSE evil over doing the right thing, over humanity.
We’ve got an epidemic of violence on our hands and it’s up to all of us to do something. Whether it’s showing your humanity in a tweet or a status update or just doing something good for someone else … all those so-called “meaningless platitudes”, when you break them down in their barest of form … they’re a glimmer of hope for humanity. And right now, I really do think we can use it…and not just here in the U.S., but the whole world…
At least that’s how I choose to see it.