Sitting here watching the news about the latest school shooting, which occured at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, brings up a lot of emotions in me; even more so now that my sister has her beautiful baby girl. It’s just so hard to imagine trying to put any of this into words and yet looking over some of the comments people are placing on Google+ and Facebook makes me wonder if they even bothered to think before they opened their mouths. The answer is likely a resounding NO to everyone but them.
I see posts from pro-lifers equating this to abortion and gun law lobbyists saying “I told you so.” Still others are going on about how it’s “the worst” tragedy ever (since 9/11 of course). The people involved don’t need that shit right now. I remember when I was facing the same issues and I certainly didn’t appreciate anything that people on “the outside” had to say about it. Everyone just has to have a voice when something is big news don’t they? Heaven forbid they actually stop and listen for once. Then again, when heightened emotions are involved, perhaps now is not the best time for listening either. I say that because it disgusts me how the news networks are “listening” oh so well to unnamed police sources… so well that they even used a Facebook picture of some random guy who just happened to have the same name as someone who wasn’t even a suspect! Great work there guys.
Trust me, now is not the time to “jump on the bandwagon” and “get involved.” Right now the people who are actually involved want you to leave them the hell alone! They want to grieve in private, not with cameras shoved down their throats and a million eyes on them. Being forced into the public eye doesn’t mean they become something for you to gawk at. Offer them your prayers, say you’re there if they need you, and then back off. They will definitely speak up when they feel the time is right, however they most certainly won’t if you keep telling them they absolutely have to speak up right now. I did not speak up to anyone about my interactions with Eric and Dylan until many years later and that was only to close family and friends. Tragedy does not need to be addressed right away and held up on a pedestal as some example of this or that personal opinion. Sadly though, that’s how our society of “15 minutes of fame” works, if you don’t try and cram everything you can into it while the story is big then people won’t care when you’re actually ready to talk about it.
It makes me worry for the future as far as my niece is concerned. Obviously I care about her safety in the school system and in general, but that is not my main worry since I know that these events have been going on since schools first opened and that there is little I can personally do to stop them from happening. No, I worry about the influence the idea of people being “public domain” will affect her. I worry about her getting involved in this cycle of gossip and gawking that has become so popular over the last few decades. I want my niece to respect the idea of privacy, especially when it becomes “big news.” I want her to listen, and clearly, to the needs and wants of others and to respect them not keep digging just because she feels others “have a right to now.” No one has a right to know about someone else’s personal grief. I want my niece to be the one to listen to those who don’t get enough attention and to help them, not be the one that turns to gossip and just follows what everyone else says. It is scary to think about her having to face something like this, but it’s even scarier to think of her being a part of the cause. I think people need to spend more time focusing on the later rather than the former, perhaps then this world might change a bit for the better.
This is a great post. I agree about leaving the families and friends of the victims alone. I cannot imagine being in that situation, let alone having reporters camped out in my yard.
“But how do you feel, I mean how do you really feel?” I would probably end up in jail for bunching the reporter in the face – as a demonstration of how I was feeling in that particular moment of course 😛