Tuesday, January 11, 2011

mourn with those that mourn

like just about everyone else, i have been totally horrified and, frankly, disgusted by the shooting of representative giffords in arizona a few days ago.

to be perfectly honest, i have sort of been ignoring the whole thing because i would rather not believe that things like that happen in modern, advanced society. and then when i do think about it i get really worked up and try to find people and things to blame, and then i get really depressed because, whether there is a place to lay blame or not an awful thing happened. and none of this strikes me as a particularly healthy cycle.

i did venture out to do a little reading on the whole sad thing today, though, and came across this piece, written a few years ago by susan klebold, the mother of one of the columbine shooters, dylan klebold. it is honest and heartfelt and terribly sad and completely captivating. and for lack of a better way to describe a complicated thing, it gave me a new sense of perspective about tragedies such as these.

it is easy for us to say someone is a monster after they have done a monstrous thing, but i think it is reasonable for a mother or father who has raised a son or daughter with nothing but love to disbelieve that their child could ever do such a thing, and blaming those mothers and fathers, or friends or teachers or guidance counselors for "missing something" seems cruelly unfair.

and it is easy for us to loudly blame violent video games and inflamed political rhetoric and those are things that we do need to talk about in an open and reasonable way. but we also need to talk about the kind of individual human suffering that might lead a person to do something like shoot their fellow students or their elected representative. and to recognize the suffering that those people and their actions leave behind, for everyone. perhaps we forget too quickly that their family and friends are victims, too, that their suffering will also be deep and long.

i can't begin to imagine how difficult it was for susan klebold to relive long enough to put down on paper the events that ended her son's life, and many other lives as well. and i admire her immensely for doing that even for people who demonized and blamed her. maybe we think it will make us feel better to point a finger and assign some accountability, as if perhaps that will allow us to walk away from something awful feeling somehow better.

but i think that that is wrong. i am not totally sure what is right, but i suspect it involves embracing both tragedy and all the people it touches. and then feeling sorry that it has to touch anyone at all.


heatherlynn said...

this just showed up in my reader. bravo, gal. this needs to be shared with many. thank you!

CL said...

Amen sister and can I just say I just read this: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41027365/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/?gt1=43001
and it made me angry too. So I thought I'd share it with you. I do think it is silly and frustrating to point fingers. And we need to support ALL who are affected by these sorts of tragedies. Picketing= not supporting. And "Hi" by the way :-) Long time no talk.