07.23.12 Truth & Wisdom
BY Dana Maxwell
I was extremely saddened to walk into work on Friday and see the breaking news on the television in the lobby, saying 12 were killed and many others injured in a recent Colorado movie theater shooting. As I walked into the elevator and rode up to the floor where my office sits, I was reminded of Columbine and of so many other random shootings we have witnessed since. It is so hard to understand why these tragedies occur, and so easy to place judgment on the shooter, on society, on the theater for not having enough security, the list goes on.
I logged into Facebook as I knew postings about the tragedy would populate quickly. Some people commenting on the event simply put their prayers and love out to the families of the victims. Others were outraged at the shooter, saying, “We should just shoot him in the head instead of wasting taxpayer’s money on this case,” or “I hope Colorado has the death penalty.”
I sit back, a witness to the hatred spewing out, and I can’t help but think: This is NOT the answer. Lyrics from Ani Difranco’s song ‘Animal’ pop out at me: “Aggression begets aggression; it’s a very simple lesson that long preceded any king of heaven.” It’s so true – aggression begets aggression. We are born fighters. We defend ourselves. We act on instinct. We have the ability to kill. And that’s a very scary reality.
I can’t help but strongly feel that through it all, LOVE has to be the focus in our universe – LOVE can lead us to peace, and help solve so many troubles. Love and peace, after all, are what generations and generations have fought for, long before my time, and will fight for long after my time. I want to believe that someday “hate” will cease to exist, but when wars happen all around us, it seems fruitless to dream of such a day.
As for the recent tragic event, how do we as a society help prevent future crimes like this from occurring? Is having compassion instead of judgment for the shooter possible? Or do we let the event create anger and fear in all of us? The shooter is no different than any one of us, but something triggered emotion in him to want to create panic and loss. We have to try and understand where that stemmed from, or society will continuously put band-aids on symptoms instead of helping to find a solution for the core of the problem.
How do you find compassion?
There are victims in Aurora who were taken far too soon on their journey of life. There are families left in pain and anger. There are witnesses who escaped death and will surely be affected for the rest of their lives by this event. So it seems impossible to feel compassion for the person who planned and created this tragedy. But will anger towards him change the outcome? Will hate?
In tragedy, strength rises.
In tragedy, we have to let go of the “whys” and “hows” and find unity and love.
In tragedy, we have to overcome.
In tragedy, we have to find compassion for all sides and let go of judgment.
Moving forward in love
“Loving” is one of the easiest things in the world. Loving someone comes naturally and brings happiness into our world. Sure, relationships take work, and they are not always rainbows and butterflies, but love never hurts, it’s the “lack of love” or “loss of love” that hurts. Likewise, hating is also easy. It doesn’t take much to find something negative to say about someone you can’t stand. And when our ego gets in the way – when we feel hurt, angry, rejected – hate seems a lot easier than love. Which is all the more reason that something HAS to give. We cannot let HATE take over. Love has to prevail in its own way. It can be difficult to find love in times of darkness. It can be a struggle. It might take work. But when you find love for yourself and others, and when you move forward in love, only then can positive change begin to take place.