A number of times today, in light of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, I heard the phrase, “I have no words”. For those who share that sentiment and to all the rest who are stunned by the turn of events, please allow me to offer you my words.
Although an act such as this one, an act so horrifying, so violent and bloody is meant to terrorize society, whether it falls under the government’s definition of terrorism or not, it seems that the prevailing feelings today are more along the lines of sadness and anger. I can not even begin to imagine the horror felt by the people that witnessed this pure act of evil and can only hope and pray that those injured and scarred by these events somehow find strength and that the loved ones of those lost find a way to make it through their days. But it is important to note that a large segment of society is not cowering in fear. As I write this there are still many unanswered questions regarding the shooter, but one thing that strikes me is that the worst of the feelings felt by Americans today is not fear. I would categorize it more as fatigue.
We are all tired. Sick and tired of the abyss our world is sinking into. Sick and tired of bad news. Jews and Zionists such as myself recognize this feeling. That feeling that this will never end. That the world will never get better and that whatever we do we can’t stop the downward spiral. The feeling that people just like us can be struck down dead at any time by those with no value for human life. As people we do not want to get so caught up in a tragedy that it debilitates us, but at the same time we can not help but feel pain for what has happened. How do we deal with this, process this and move on with our lives without getting desensitized?
I learned a sad truth about myself this morning. Earlier in the morning I had woken up and peeked at the news story on my phone. I briefly saw a statement saying that 2 people had died in a shooting in Las Vegas. I remember briefly thinking it was sad, rolled over and went back to sleep. When I awoke at 6:30 and turned on the news I saw a different report. This report indicated that 50 people had been killed and hundreds injured. All of a sudden this story became a lot more serious in my mind. But why did it take 50 deaths? Why wasn’t I feeling the same when it was 2 dead? Do I not value the lives of the 2? Have I become so desensitized that 2 would have made is acceptable while 50 did not? The answer is partially yes.
By no means is it acceptable, but we have no choice but to acknowledge the new normal. The new normal is that whether it’s at a Congressional softball practice or a march against hate or a concert in Manchester, we live in a world where there are people who think it is either justifiable or even worse, righteous to murder people. And most of us, as normal people who respect human life, although we never come to terms with the logic behind it, have found a way to come to terms with the action itself. As long as the number is relatively low. But the sheer number as it stands at this hour, 59 dead and over 500 injured is part of what shakes us to our collective cores. The larger the number the more we relate to it. The larger the number the easier it is to imagine it could happen to us. Whether it was downtown Manhattan around 9AM on a Tuesday morning, a concert in Manchester, a train in London, a Pizza place in Jerusalem. a promenade in Nice or a country music concert in Las Vegas, it is a lot harder to accept when it is easy to picture yourself there.
By no mean do I imply we only feel bad when we can imagine being a victim, but part of what we think after an event like this is how it has changed our world. How many people even remember what it was like to check into an American airport before 9/11? How many people will no longer go to an open concert, or a fireworks display or maybe even a sporting event because of the possibility they might die there. We feel increasingly frustrated, tremendously saddened, bitter and anger to the point of fury.
What’s important here is to not lose sight of who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Simply put, if you are reading this and you never want to see anything like what happened in Las Vegas happen again, you are one of the good guys. It doesn’t matter if you are Conservative or Liberal, pro or anti-Trump, pro or anti Gun control. None of that matters in the determination of whether or not any man or woman is good or bad. What matters is value for human life and the willingness to work together to try at least to solve our problems. I successfully resisted the urge to react to those who made it political today, not because I disagree with all of what I read, but because most of it pivoted into blaming the other side for what happened.
Someone sharing my political views is not more saddened by this then someone who does not. This hurts every decent human being out there.
Death is bi-partisan. Our survival may depend on everyone realizing that.
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