First of all, it’s not true as has been stated on Facebook that Rose Mallinger, 97 year old victim of Saturday’s synagogue shooting was a survivor of the Holocaust.
That would have been really tragic, but here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter.
The average age of the victims was 74, and that’s what matters.
They were all average. That’s what matters.
As far as anyone knows, there wasn’t a famous or infamous person among them, but they were important to their friends and families. That matters.
They were brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers. They were physicians, housewives, dentists, scientists. They were described by friends and neighbors as kind and caring, good people, devout in their faith. And that matters.
Here’s what matters: they are you and me.
We’re being picked off one by one or in groups of 10 or 11 or 20 or 50, but never doubt, we’re being targeted. We’re not people to the shooters, we are reasons or statements or enemies or targets. The places we gather, our schools, our churches, our supermarkets are shooting galleries, places to make some sort of sick statement or right some twisted wrong that has been planted in the heads of those who listen to the hate that is being spewed forth by people who see us as an audience.
Hate. That’s what matters.
Is the media to blame? Partly. Are the politicians to blame? Partly. Are we to blame? Partly.
What can we do? I’ve been waiting for an answer. I’m one person, so surely there is someone more powerful, more knowledgeable, wiser, someone with more authority than me who has an answer and will just wave a wand and fix this mess, but that hasn’t happened.
Maybe there’s a group, a political party, a commission, a board of directors, a university that has an answer. Some organization or some group we can look towards to solve this problem.
Here’s what matters. It’s you and me. We’re the answer.
This is going to be hard.
The answer isn’t in laws. The answer isn’t on TV. The answer isn’t in political correctness or some candidate’s speech. We don’t even like most politicians–how can we expect them to solve this problem? It’s not a problem a doctor or psychiatrist can solve with a diagnosis of whatever mental illness we think might be the root.
The answer doesn’t start outside of us. It starts inside of us, radiates out in the way we live and teach our children, and hopefully is seen by all around us. We can’t hate our neighbor or our co-worker or the people who go to a different church or the people who vote differently than us.
We just can’t.
I don’t know if we can turn this around. At my age I’ve come to think that what I think doesn’t really make a difference. But maybe we all feel that way and that may be a little of what’s going wrong. Maybe what we think does make a difference. Maybe the way we live can make a difference. Maybe we can stop hating. Maybe.
I just don’t know.