One of the best articles I’ve read which relates to the recent shooting in America is “I am Adam Lanza’ mother.”
It’s a very personal and thoughtful call for better mental health care for children — especially boys — who are afflicted with violent tempers and psychotic episodes.
Like any article, it contains claims which others can dispute, and conclusions which require scrutiny and debate. And like any article online, it has attracted ferocious attack from trolls who show astounding insensitivity and hatefulness.
In contrast to this, three of my favourite bloggers have reviewed their online tone in light of the tragedy in Connecticut.
The great mass of my Facebook cronies and I managed to do something that just a little earlier would have seemed almost as miraculous. For a few hours, we canned our opinions, clamped off our snark glands, and went out of our way to be gentle to one another.
In a more recent example of times when I should have been the better person and just left well enough alone, I called an atheist blogger hateful for exploiting the Sandy Hook tragedy to advanced his agenda against Christians. He used one tweet, out of the hundreds of thousands in support of the victims and their families, to paint all Christians as vengeful religious fundies . . .
. . The incident forced me to recall all the times I’ve done the exact same thing. When a Christian church is burned to the ground by Muslim hands I am quick to post something nasty about the “religion of peace”. Hi, pot. You’re black. Love, the kettle. I do this because I need to have a reason to validate my hatred. It makes it easier to continue to hate and not to not feel bad for doing so. Again, pray for me. Please.
Now that the first fog of everything-the-press-got-wrong is lifting, and people are asking“why” I wonder about the time and the place, and if bullying from a decade ago, or longer, played into the creation of the evil and misery unleashed upon so many innocents, yesterday.
Everything matters. Everything ripples through time and our lives, like a pebble tossed to a pond, we cannot know what gets touched upon which shore . . .
. . Every day it becomes clearer to me that we must each BE the change we wish to see in the world — fix ourselves and be gentle with others. It’s a waste of time to try to compel others to be what we think they should be.
Trolling and nasty, personal argumentation are very human. Put it down to concupiscence. But it’s also very human — very humane — to declare a cease fire at times of moral crisis, like the September 11 attack, and the Newtown shooting.
The bloggers I quoted were able to do that because they still observe civility. Trolls don’t do that. A million bloggers I haven’t quoted don’t do that.
Civility matters. But civility is dying. Which is why I still defend Cardinal Dolan’s prophetic gesture earlier this year.