Seemingly there’s a new tragedy every day, an act of severe violence that shatters the lives of people just like us, and within moments it’s all over the internet. Every trigger pulled becomes the new trending topic; every life lost is a new hashtag. Every presidential candidate has something to say about it, and people take their corresponding sides.
At risk of sounding cynical or inconsiderate, I don’t post online every time a tragedy strikes, and this is why: Being behind a keyboard tends to bring a new level of bravery, a courage and confidence most don’t have face-to-face. They type what they’re too afraid to say, so when these awful things happen, it’s a fast way for us to react in whatever way we choose and have it reach hundreds or even thousands of people in an instant. It’s easy to be angry and claim you know the answer when you didn’t have a loved one killed hours prior. It’s easy to quickly tap a message of public outreach and hit send to make sure everyone knows you care. It’s easy to click share and add a heart emoji, or the flag of the country that was bombed that day. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve become numb to these events as I scroll through my newsfeed. Another shooting, another bombing; it’s almost expected now.
The widely occurring assumption that is now affecting me personally is that if I don’t post a message or blurb of support, it means I don’t care about what happened or that I haven’t heard about it, which I find utterly ridiculous.
Social media has become such a heavily relied on source of information about people, which is terribly unfortunate, since all information you could possibly gather and judge is solely based on what that person chooses to display. People create an online presence that may or may not be an accurate representation of themselves. I see your hashtags and messages of support to those affected, but I don’t applaud them and don’t add one myself. I simply don’t see the point other than to make your online friends know you’re informed and have reacted appropriately. I choose instead to reflect internally and welcome conversation in more intimate parts of my life.
But I get it. I get the confusion; I understand the need to know you’re not alone in what you’re feeling. I understand the fear of the next attack and the uneasiness of not knowing all the information about what happened. I understand the stomach sinking sadness, and the empathy that hits you like a brick wall. I feel those people too, the ones who were just trying to catch a flight, see a movie, celebrate pride, buy gas for their car, who never thought they would lose their lives in the process. It’s scary because we do all those things every day. We shouldn’t have to be afraid. We shouldn’t have to be numb to these overwhelming acts of hate. We shouldn’t feel like this is normal.
We cannot bring these people back, we cannot put these families back together; they are broken. They are incomplete and flawed and destroyed by someone, or a group of people, who made a choice one day to take someone’s life. These were people just like us, with families and friends and goals and dreams and love. It shouldn’t matter which gun the killer used just like it shouldn’t matter which gender the victim was in love with; these are not the things we should be worried about, they are only the things we should be sorry for.
I’m sorry that hate is taught to children and that violence is ever introduced as a solution. I’m sorry that some people are raised with the falsified ideologies that varied levels of melanin in the skin are better than another. I’m sorry that you cannot love who you love without being afraid of dying for it. I’m sorry that someone you love was killed because society did not properly teach basic human morals. I’m sorry that our political system has gone to shit. I’m sorry that many children are growing up so entitled that they absolutely lose their minds to get what they want. I’m sorry that more people care about their Instagram filter than donating to your reliefs. I’m sorry that your terrible event faded off the radar because another terrible event was deemed worse by the news outlets.
These are all things that happen every day, and lately we are seeing more and more of it. Thoughts and prayers are, of course, welcomed by those affected. Public outreach is by no means a bad thing or something I’m attacking.
What I will openly attack, however, is the almost immediate spread of hate across the internet after these tragic events occur.
Arguments about guns or race or religious beliefs that quickly turn inhumane take the attention away from those whose lives were taken and truly don’t lead us toward a positive solution or result. Hate is the reason these tragedies happened in the first place, so attacking someone for thinking differently on how to solve these problems has the same originating cause as attacking someone for not expressing their constant support for the world to see. I think we sometimes lose sight of what has really happened and we cannot let fear be the driving force in our lives; if we do, hate wins.
I am not particularly religious, I do not know the purpose of all your prayers; I can only hope they mean something in the end.