How We React

I’m sitting on my couch this morning watching news coverage of the horrific events in Aurora overnight. I am saddened for the victims and their families, as well as for the shooter and his family.

What has me seriously troubled is listening and reading the reactions around the country… well, around the world actually. News like this isn’t limited to a specific region anymore. I’m touched by the concerns of friends and acquaintances, and I’m hopeful because there are so many out there calling for peace, forgiveness, and empathy. BUT… sadly, those are in the minority. What I see more of right now…

  • calls for justice
  • hopeless pronouncements of a lost society
  • speculation and assumptions
  • the word “evil” spewed over and over again

I know these are all natural reactions to a tragedy. I understand that fear takes over our rational selves and immediately puts us into fight or flight mode. We want to ensure we are safe. We want to ensure our loved ones are safe. We are scared.

What’s troubling me the most is that we, as a society, continue to react in shock to events such as these, but we turn our heads away from those who need the most help. We are reactive, instead of proactive. We look down our noses at people who are different, troubled, struggling with addictions, mentally ill. We ridicule the loners and expect them to snap out of it and just “be normal.”

And then we crucify those people when they lash out.

Right after such events, we pay lip-service to programs that are supposed to help people. And then most of us forget about the tragedies and go back to complaining about the lines at Starbucks, the state of the economy, and watching Jersey Shore.

The problem in our society isn’t that we have people who are evil running around our streets.

The problem in our society is that we have a lack of empathy.

We don’t help those in need when we can and should… but we are the first to throw stones at them.

We want to assign blame.

We want to attribute these senseless acts to evil, because that means there is someone to take the blame off ourselves.



  • we TRULY reached out to those who seemed different… weird… strange… troubled? (not just as a reaction to a tragedy)
  • we taught our children to be empathetic instead of competitive?
  • we concentrated on building up all children, instead of ranking and sorting them as data and test scores?
  • we practiced random acts of kindness every day, not just as an afterthought when something bad happens?

I’m not going to speculate about the young man who walked into that theater this morning. I don’t know anything about him, and the media are doing enough speculation as it is. My heart is so heavy today. I wish I could do something right now for all the families of the victims. I wish I could comfort that young man’s family, because they’re hurting, too. And I wish I could talk to this young man to make some sense of out his actions. I know that’s not going to happen… and that all I can do now is to reach out to those who are hurting, to pray, and hope that, together, we can all learn something from this.

I remain hopeful.

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