For all the writing we do up here – sometimes I can’t find a single word when I need it most. So in true Jersey form, I’ll just say “Fuckin’ A” for the moment.
The horribly tragic shooting of nine Charleston, SC community members at a church during Bible study is so upsetting – that even though I can’t find the words, I must. And so I cherry-pick appropriate news sources I feel won’t mask this information with political pretense. Then I read, and read. And become even more upset.
Clearly I’m not alone. But I wonder what I can do differently than simply read, empathize, and move on with my day?
Good people lost their lives because someone filled with terrible ideas had an easy means to take action. He shared his terrible ideas with others. No one helped him see something different. Someone helped him get a gun. He spent an hour with 9 people discussing life. Then he took theirs.
Nine people. Six women. Three men. A Pastor, a Senator, a Mother, a Coach, a College Graduate, a Librarian, a Minister. Community members rooted in history, progress, compassion and change. A young man rooted in anger. Those are all the facts I have right now.
This is most certainly systemic. Race. Religion. Politics. Can we also discuss Mental Health? How can a 21 year old with shallow life experience hold such deep hatred and contempt in his heart? Was he nurtured with love? Did he have access to information and services that could have helped?
Is this the cost of not caring?
These questions interest me deeply. And I don’t believe the “lone gunman who acted alone” is a proper response.
I’d like to imagine this young man a little younger – walking into this same church during bible study with these same people, but with a different mental health system in our country. Surely, based on the life experiences of each one of them, someone would have noticed something amiss and set him on a course of counseling services, empathy and love. For they each represented deep character in spite of their struggles.
So I wonder “What can one person do?”
The best thing I can think today, is to make it a priority to talk about it and represent love in my life. My young sons. My family. Friends. Colleagues. I can find words, and share them. I will encourage a lifestyle of physical and mental health, compassion, spirituality, and services to others.
I will start with young minds – now – and feed them every day so that they can find their words too.