This is a rant – an ill-timed rant that will likely do no good and disappear amid all the other rants. But heck – it seems everyone is on a rant today. We’re all stunned, all angry, all incredibly sad, and all looking for answers, because we’re all human, and that’s what we do.
And as we search for answers, we push our personal agendas.
I see this one all over Facebook. Because we all know the tragedy in Connecticut would never have happened if guns could only be obtained illegally. If this kid’s mother hadn’t legally owned guns, he wouldn’t have been armed.
Maybe, maybe not. We’ll never know how he might have acted out differently had the guns been unavailable to him. We’ll also never know what might have happened if one of the adults in that gun-free zone had been allowed to carry a gun.
Thirty-eight kids and six adults died in a bombing at a Michigan school – this way back in 1927. And yesterday twenty-two kids and an elderly woman were stabbed outside a primary school in China. Senseless violence is not dependent on guns. It finds a way.
While I am in favor of gun ownership, I am also in favor of tighter gun control. I personally would not object to having my right to bear arms contingent on an annual psych evaluation – wouldn’t even mind paying for that evaluation out of my own pocket. And yes, I see all kinds of room for abuse there.
The answers aren’t easy.
And then I see the truly hateful and over-shared message that God let this happen because He is not allowed in schools. REALLY? As if God is a vampire who can only cross the threshold if He’s invited?
If you believe in an all-powerful and all-knowing God, then you have to accept that He was in that school and did let this happen. And we’re not meant to make sense of it. Those souls are with Him now, and they’re okay.
Easily obtained mental healthcare for all!
Okay – there’s some merit here. But how do we find those who need this care? How do we get this care to them? I have friends with adult kids who have mental health issues, and these parents move heaven and earth to make sure these young adults have the support they need. They take an active role in these lives – check in, bring groceries, mediate with landlords, make sure the heat is on.
That’s what families do. And this brings me to my point.
The people at risk for doing horrific things are known to someone – family? Co-workers? Fellow students? Every last one of them interacts with others.
Perhaps they interact with us.
The best thing any of us can do is to offer help to someone close to us. It doesn’t have to be a family member, or a friend, although that’s a good place to start. It doesn’t have to be the homeless person we walk past every day, or the Salvation Army volunteer shivering outside Walmart, although again – why not?
If you’re a student, and there’s a kid who’s being bullied, do you look the other way? Or do you step in and risk taking some of the bullying yourself?
Maybe your shoulders are stronger.
If a co-worker appears strange, weird, socially awkward, do you risk being kind, and perhaps having this person attach himself to you like a remora?
There are worse things.
Today, though, let’s stop using tragedy to fuel our personal agendas. Instead, let’s go out into the world and help someone, even if it’s just a phone call to an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, just to ask if they’re okay. Call someone who’s wronged you and tell them you’re over it and you wish them well. Donate your GOOD clothes. Take dinner to the elderly folks up the road. Call the woman who’s in chemotherapy and ask if her kids need anything.
Quit reading this blog and mow a lawn. Plant a flower. Adopt a guinea pig. You never know how a single act of kindness might affect this world.