Like you, I have a lot of friends I know either in person or through social media. Some of them are enraged, some want to talk about guns, some want to pretend nothing happened, some are saddened. My feeds are filled with the videos of famous people and essays by less famous people discussing the shooting. There are lingering posts about the Stanford rape. And kittens. There are still kittens because it’s the internet.
I’m disturbed by how normalized this kind of thing has become. Oh, another mass shooting. That’s sad and we should do something. Donate blood, give some money to the victims’ families or some associate charity, change my profile picture, tweet with a hashtag. Pray/meditate. Argue about guns and facts on the internet. Learn obsessively about the latest lone wolf gunman or terrorist or whatever they decide to call the shooter. Read the names of the victims, look at their pictures. Feel useless. Be useless.
There’s something rotten in Denmark, my friends, and by Denmark, I mean the hearts of Americans. This is and isn’t about guns. It’s about fear and othering. it’s about looking at a person with whom you have a difference and thinking of them as Them. Gay people are Them. Muslims are Them. Yankees fans are Them*. Republicans are Them. And so on.
When we decide that someone with a difference is Them, we become capable of distancing ourselves enough to believe harm inflicted upon Them isn’t important. See: slavery, the Holocaust, Japanese Internment, HIV/AIDS, and more. They aren’t part of the tribe. We’re the tribe. Us. vs. Them.
Human beings. We’re all human beings. We all breathe air, drink water, and eat food. We have all the same stuff on the inside. Every body poops. Every body bleeds.
We can disagree without hate or anger. We can not be dicks. We can be excellent to each other. We can stfu and listen. We can seek out the marginalized and lift them up.
Lifting others up doesn’t push you down.
Oh, and by the way, I have a new book out: Ethereal Entanglements, which is book 3 of Spirit Knights. I’ll be at the Fremont Solstice Festival for the last few hours on Sunday (6/19) in my pajama pants (long story). My Clockwork Dragon partners will be there all weekend.