I am fairly sure the blogosphere is entirely a twitter with people's thoughts and considerations on the events of yesterday. I have been thinking about it and about the way Facebook lit up with exhortations of people to pray for the victims (and first responders). I don't want to come off as a callous bastard but I sit here and all I can feel is disgust. Disgust for the people who perpetrated this heinous act, disgust for the knee jerk responses on Facebook, and disgust for the inevitable hatred that people will spew as they attempt to place blame for the act.
I recognize that what happened yesterday was a horrific thing. I feel badly that it happened but I can't bring myself to feel the awful sense of mourning that others seem to put on like an old coat, if you go by the frequency of requests of prayers, virtual candles, and similar sentiments posted on FB. I am relieved that none of my direct kin were affected by this. I am disappointed and disgusted by the act and the carnage. I am proud of those who put themselves into danger to help complete strangers. I sincerely hope that casualties will be limited and that all injured make a full recovery.
All of this said, what good does it do to post for quite possibly the 200th time in your friends' feeds that what happened was a bad thing? It is a statement of the obvious. Why are you asking them to pray for gods knows what iteration of that request you are? For the love of everything holy, refrain from this and put your sense of need to take action to rectify the problem into ACTION. Don't use pat statements to assuage your survivor's guilt or to assuage the nebulous sense of guilt that you feel obligated to have for not being directly affected by the events. Don't use FB posts to express your desire to have those harmed by this helped and leave it at that.
Pick yourself up and DO SOMETHING! If you feel obligated to pray for the injured parties, then pray. Don't announce to the world that you are doing it, spend your time engaged in it. It's one thing if you are letting people around you know that you are organizing something (ie 'hey guys, i'm going to donate blood, who's coming with me?' or 'i'm fund raising for the Red Cross, pls donate!' etc.). That is fantastic! Keep up the great work! Let more people know about your efforts offline to recruit as much assistance as you can for your cause. (I'm pro-activisim, even if it's for the opposite side of the causes I believe in because it means that you are standing up for your beliefs rather then paying lip service.)
With my ranting done, some may wonder just what I am doing in the wake of the tragedy. Some may ask if I don't want to help ease the suffering of those afflicted or if I don't want to see the perpetrators punished. I recognize that given the current circumstances of my family and life, I can do nothing more then pray for these people. I have done so. As for the punishment of the perpetrators, my feelings on that are the same as my feelings regarding ANY crime: the perpetrators should be apprehended and justice should be done. Note, I said justice. This means we allow the legal system to give them their day in court with a trial by jury, as is required by our laws.
Some may press the matter farther and demand that I agree with them that the offenders should be executed for their crimes. I would retort that their arguments, especially emotion based, are nothing more then a petty attempt at revenge, which is ultimately useless. Even the enormity of this crime does not make me support capital punishment. I refuse to support petty revenge, state sanctioned murder, or the execution of innocent people upon accident. So far, the arguments in favor of capital punishment boil down to approval of these things, if not the encouragement of the first in the list. I adamantly reject them.