I was fairly preoccupied this weekend hosting and entertaining somebody in New York City, and therefore did not really have much time to check the news.
So you can imagine how flustered I suddenly became when I turned on my TV on Sunday afternoon to hear about what happened in Orlando.
First it was the senseless killing of The Voice contestant and pop singer Christina Grimmie, who had her whole life and career ahead of her, and millions of people to touch with her gift of song.
I saw a show in March where she was the first of two openers. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the venue in time and I missed the opportunity to see her live.
Now I never will.
And of course, there was what happened early Sunday morning, a terrorist attack and hate crime that amounted to the deadliest shooting in United States history.
Fifty people. By one killer. It still doesn’t make sense.
It’s devastating and heartbreaking enough that we have to deal with the reality of tragedy, but it’s extra painful to see the backlash that erupts as a result of it.
People immediately use the atrocity to share their political views. Whether it be on guns, LGBT rights, or radical Islamic terrorism. And for every post where someone tries to make sense of the issue on Facebook, there’s someone in the comments section disagreeing with their politics.
Scroll across the Instagram comments of a celebrity expressing their sympathies for the victims. It won’t be long before you encounter a debate.
It’s like clockwork, and unfortunately, a microcosm of America.
Every time something really bad happens, I feel like it divides us more and more. That’s what really irks me. Because we can’t control it when a disillusioned, unstable person hits a breaking point and decides to shoot up a public place.
But we can control how we react. We can dictate the ensuing conversation.
And rather then coming together and deciding how we could uniformly grieve for the victims but still unite as one, we quarrel.
I’ll admit that I don’t know what the solution is. But I know that it’s not this.
Maybe when you go about your week, keep the victims lodged in your thoughts. Be extra nice to your family, friends and colleagues. Treat strangers with respect. Smile more.
Yes we all have our own lives and problems. But what happened in Orlando early Sunday morning shouldn’t stake us against one another.
It should remind us that we’re all in this together.
Let’s act that way.