Don’t Fight Over Politics, Fight For Kindness

If you are outraged today, that’s okay. If you are sullen and bewildered today, that’s also alright. We should be angry. We must be sad. We share this world, this planet, each breath we let free is shared by someone else.

Distance calculated by country may produce the illusion that this world is vast; it’s not. Not really. Everything we do, from throwing garbage away to buying plastics has an effect on someone else down the line. There is an ethereal tether that binds us, it’s simply hubris and blissful ignorance that grants us freedom of consequence.

I don’t have the answers. I don’t know what laws, if any, that should be amended, created or erected to mitigate these sorts of tragedies from happening. Truth be told, laws might do nothing at all, I don’t know. I’m not smart enough to have a cure all solution — I wish I was. I am merely a man, as shocked and dismayed as all of you, I’m sure.

I’ve seen murder. I’ve touched it with my own hands… it’s vile and wicked. The air that hangs around it is putrid and thick with unease. The devastation it causes stretches beyond that of the deceased. Far beyond. Parents, teachers, first responders, friends, therapists, loved ones and so many more…

I spent years of my life floundering at the bottom of a bottle. Those around me felt as though I was searching for answers — the reality was that I wasn’t — I was trying to silence the questions.

“Why….? Why does this happen…?”

Empathy is the only tool we have in the immediacy of our surroundings. Now is the time to be kind to one another, to be patient and willing. Debate can come, and it will — in due time.

I was struggling with a recurrent nightmare prior to the events of this horrible mass shooting. In my career as a medic, I was fortunate to never have to respond to something like that. But I have been to mass casualty events where violence was the causation of despair. The chaos of those scenes; the flickering lights, the rumbling engines, diesel fumes pervading the air around… the click and clack of duty belts and the weight bound to them, radios squelching, panting breath of those trying to help, and the agonizing cries of those in need of it… it’s the melody of Hell.

I did not and do not know any of the families impacted by yesterday’s horrible occurrence. But I do know that we share the same air, the same lands, and the same water, so I mourn for them. I ache for them. My mind is with them. They may never know, and that’s fine. This isn’t about me.

But oh how great it would be, if they could turn on the news, as they likely will, and instead of seeing a man in a blue tie or red, arguing with a man or woman about this or that, they are met with crowds of people sharing in their disbelief and loss. Perhaps it would show them that even when they feel completely alone, they aren’t… I don’t know.

As I’ve said, I’m just a man, a man with no answers, only questions. And since I will have no answers to those weighted queries, instead of losing myself in a bottle, I will simply exhale, slowly and meaningfully, and when I do, it will be empathy I let free. May it carry along the sinew of our planet, reverberate along the coastlines and heavens alike, only to then be inhaled by the bereft, and those in need.

You are not alone.

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