Last week, a man fulfilled horrific plans he had made over more than a few months. He stockpiled weapons, ammunition, and bomb making materials, holed up in a hotel room, and opened fire on a crowd below him who were doing nothing more than enjoying a concert. He killed 59 people, injured hundreds of others, and like the coward he was, he killed himself rather than face his crimes against humanity. Most mass killers are like that, cowards at heart who die rather than face their charges.
Seeing all of the sadness, the horror, the pain, the deep unending need to know why will overwhelm everyone who is touched by this madman and his desire to kill. How do I know this is what they are feeling? Let me tell you.
On a cold winter’s day in January 1996, my son was murdered along with his friend Ralph. It was and is a very painful event in our lives. After 20 years it is as much a part of who we are as our names. One learns to live with and through the pain, but it is ever present. A man shot my son and Ralph. I don’t blame the gun, it is just a tool, I blame the man who pulled the trigger.
For all of you who are on your high horse about how bad guns are, just stop. Stop making this about YOU and your political agenda. Stop talking, just stop. Take a minute out of your IMPERSONAL outrage, and allow those who are directly involved to talk. Listen to them. Just stop and listen! They will want to tell you about how wonderful their loved one was. How they lived, what they thought, how much they are loved. They don’t give a flying damn about your politics right now. It isn’t about YOU, or gun control, or where you were, or how oppressed you feel, or any of that.
This is about human beings who were living and laughing and having a great time up until a bullet took their lives.
So just shut up, stop talking, stop arguing, stop all of this crap that has nothing to do with the LOSS OF A LIFE of someone’s son, wife, husband, mom, dad, daughter, child, friend. Stop making about you. By all that is holy and loved in your life, have some compassion, gentleness, and love. At least let them bury their dead, mourn them, and get used to the new emptiness in their lives.
Tomorrow, you will get out of bed and go on with your daily routine. Your lives aren’t changed forever, your normal is still the same. You can go on your merry way, doing your own thing, whatever it may be. But some of those families will be burying their loved one. Some will wait minute by minute to see if they need to make funeral arraignments, or plans for a long recovery for a wounded family member, some of them will weep in sorrow and deepest despair. And the weeping will go on for the rest of their lives.
In unexpected moments, a memory will come to them that will bring them to their knees in pain. Or someone will laugh, and they are sure it was the one the lost, or they will see someone in a crowd that looks like him or her, and the pain will wash over them in waves of agony. And it will go on.
While you, in your self contained world, will natter on about political this, and demanding that because a mad man killed a bunch of people in Las Vegas, Nevada in October of 2017. Meanwhile, the urgency of the event will fade for you, become part of the history of your life, and lose its meaningfulness in furthering your agenda. Other people will die in other events, and for a few days that will grab your attention, but it will fade. And life goes on.
For those who lost someone in that horrific blood bath, it will never fade. Never. They will remember each and every second of the moment they knew they had lost someone. It will take conscious effort to remember to breathe, move, even speak at times. It will never end.
With time, they will learn to live through and with the pain and loss, if they are fortunate to have others to uphold and help them. Some will give in and stop living, some will end it all. Some will find a reason to live and some will simply survive until they can take a breath or a step without feeling like they are going to break into a million pieces like shattered glass.
I know this, because I have been in their shoes and walked that mile. If you haven’t, then shut up, sit down and listen to those who have been there. You are not qualified to know how we feel, what we think, and where our hearts and minds dwell.
Just stop, stop, stop….please.