Today I watched two people get murdered. The shooter had a gun in one hand and his cell phone in the other. He recorded himself murdering two innocent people. And then posted it on social media.
I watched all of this while sitting in my favorite garden in New York City. Surrounded by the most peaceful sounds and beautiful landscaping, I saw pure evil on my iPhone.
And now, I feel helpless.
Sure, there is a lot of things that I still need to get done today. There are projects that need my attention, deals to close, emails to respond to. And I will, I won’t give that sick bastard the satisfaction of stopping me from doing the things that I need to get done.
But then I’ll still feel helpless.
The stats about gun violence in America are overwhelming and staggering. There is no other developed country in the world where these kinds of things happen with this regularity and frequency. But why? Why is that the truth? How the hell is that possible?
That is why I feel helpless.
I don’t understand the situation enough to know what is causing my peers, my fellow Americans, to decide to kill one another or that they are able to do so so easily. How the hell do these crazies get guns? How the hell do we not know they are crazy? Where does pull on that thread lead? Why haven’t we gone where it leads? What laws are in place that are outdated and no longer relevant? What kind of freedom are people opposed to changing those laws fighting for? How the hell do I know so many incredible people doing so many incredible things to impact and change the world and yet I don’t know anyone doing something about this?
I don’t know and so I feel helpless.
I want to ask these questions and hear from people with answers. But I know where asking those questions typically leads. I’ve seen it on countless other people’s social profiles. It leads to Us vs. Them. Us vs. Them dressed up with nicer monikers. Then a shouting match. And then someone who doesn’t like shouting matches trying to mediate. Then the shouters getting mad and leaving the conversation. Then nothing happening.
And nothing happening makes me feel helpless.
Every time a crazy gets a gun and kills people, people ask the question: “will this be the time that something happens?” But they ask the question so frequently because of so many innocent people dying at the hands of a crazy person with a gun, that they sound like a broken record and they know that their shouting into a void that will not respond. That our leaders, if we can actually call them that, will not respond. They will hold a press conference, they will express their sorrow, they will call for reform, and they will not put their words into action.
Not acting on something so pervasive makes me feel helpless.
So I am writing this now, sitting on the same bench I was a hour ago when I watched two people get murder, because it is the only thing I know to do when I feel helpless: ask for help. How can I understand this situation better? How can I support those that are taking action? Where can I find people asking the right questions? Where can I find people fighting for real and workable answers?
This isn’t Us vs. Them. This is Us. Help?