God knows I try to keep this blog light (and generally kinda fail), but I work as a news announcer and when you have to give the world a good long look every morning, it’s hard to be light and fluffy afterwards. Tragedy makes for good news, but it makes me feel like an emotional vulture. As much as I would like to set some things on a shelf and forget about them, keeping the blog funny and nonsensical, some things are really hard for me not to mention. Things like Pulse Orlando.
Even if you haven’t been watching the news, you’ve probably still picked this up: early, early Sunday morning, a Muslim man whom authorities say admitted allegiance to IS walked into a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida with two guns (one of them an AR-15), where he opened fire, took hostages, killed 50 people, injured an additional 53, before being killed in a shoot-out with SWAT. The club’s name was Pulse Orlando and this is the worst shooting in US history.
Now, don’t stop reading. I’m not here to preach solidarity, gun control, point fingers or condemn others for their opinions. Not today. I’m too tired, too depressed and see no reason to use tragedy to push a personal agenda, particularly since my personal agenda isn’t really all that important. But I do want to say this:
I read the news Sunday. I was angry that it happened. I am frustrated that this keeps happening. I am more frustrated with everyone’s suggestions for preventing future attacks, because none of them seem very practical and all of them seem politically motivated, but I have no ideas of my own. I am wondering why Muslims everywhere seem to have gone crazy, I am angry with their faith and I am absolutely irate at Islamic State. I actually gritted my teeth and pounded on the desk when I read the article.
Is this attitude based on facts? No. Is it morally correct? No. Is this a good way to handle this? No. Am I going to walk into a mosque with a gun and kill a bunch of people? No. Is it an entirely human and completely reasonable response to this?
Yes. Yes. I believe it is. Emotions happen. Anger, sadness, fear, rage – I believe they’re all normal, knee-jerk reactions when something like this happens. And, yes, we will target an entire group of people, many of whom are innocents and may even share our options. In English analysis, this is called the Other – as in it’s Our Side versus the Other Side. This is probably a social holdover from an evolutionary trait, when it was ‘kill the other guys or die.’ We demonize the other side initially to make them easier to attack and then later on to justify our actions.
As humans, we have proven again and again that we have the ability to rise above our emotions, to look into the past and project to the future. We weep and we rage and we want revenge, but we also think and we should probably do that before we punch someone – proverbially or literally. I may not have much faith in humanity, but I acknowledge we have great potential to handle this and handle it well. We are watching history unfurl behind us and our decisions today will resonate into tomorrow. In the long run, it’s not our emotions that will matter – it will be how we ultimately respond.
But if we respond poorly…*shrugs* I was granted a sudden insight while thinking about this yesterday: I understand why the WWII Japanese concentration camps were created. I don’t condone them, but I understand why. If we make a bad decision, I can only hope our descendants will understand why as well.