Anger is a complicated emotion.
It is not yet clear, nor will it ever really be, why that 24-year-old man tear gassed and then, aided by multiple firearms, grievously and fatally wounded dozens of people at a sold out show in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.
I did a google search for the word anger. The first definition provided by dictionary.com is “A strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire.” The second is a British dialect: “pain or smart, as of a sore.” An italicized word prefaces the third definition: obsolete. “Grief; trouble.” I disagree. Anger troubles me, anger causes trouble, and anger has an undeniable symbiotic relationship with grief — this is illustrated by both physics as well as alchemy. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; as above, so below.
What that man did to those people in Aurora, Colorado on July 19th, 2012 was an act of violence, and while it is impossible to correctly suppose what causes violent acts such as this, I believe it was a form of anger known as hate: a desire to destroy that which is not understood, to conquer that difference. It is a powerful force to reckon with; hate is strong enough to possess a person to take destructive action towards that which he hates — it is a sick mix. What that man did was take people away from each other. He hurt them, he hurt their families, he hurt our collective trust in each other. And I hate him. I hate him right back. And I’m not alone. “To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
My cousin was in the theater that night. She was shot several times; one bullet went through her neck. The fact that there is another human being out there that raised a gun at a member of my family and then pointed it in the direction of her head incenses me. He meant to shoot and kill her. That fact has filled me with a cold rage since my mother telephoned me with the news in the early morning. A collected rage, a rage I am in control of probably only because he is in custody. My cousin was still in surgery when my mom called. “They are working to save her carotid artery. They are working to save her.” My mom paused. I waited. “Pray.”
A life is of ineffable value. We are so very precious and no one is disposable. Our differences may annoy one another but they are necessary and special and while cynicism can be a harmless outlet don’t ever lose the reins. Keep your eyes on the reins of others. There is no way that nobody didn’t notice a 24-year-old student amassing a trove of violent paraphernalia. “If you see something, say something” isn’t just a subway rule, it’s an everywhere rule, and let’s remember that, forever.