Orlando Shooting Aftermath
From CNN - While the bodies of Omar Mateen's victims were removed from Pulse nightclub overnight, investigators worked Monday to determine what motivated the Florida killer responsible for the worst mass shooting in U.S. history -- a man the FBI knew was sympathetic to terrorism and had previously investigated.
As the nation comes to grips with the heinous and largest massacre since the towers fell on 9/11, we all search for answers. Answers for ourselves... answers for the reasons why... answers for who is to blame and where to find justice. Why did this have to happen? Why are people who were filled with joy and peace and love brutally gunned down? How do we heal? What's next?
I am not political in nature, nor am I a zealot or evangelist for a cause. I speak for myself, attempting to have empathy and sympathy as best as I can for those around me.
What is the truth? The truth is there are no answers. At least none that will provide a level of comfort for those who are directly or peripherally affected by the events at a nightclub in Orlando. We can all feel some measure of sadness or grief for those families that will never see their children, brothers, sisters, or friends. But unless you have experienced this level of tragic loss personally you can only begin to speculate as to the rending of one's heart.
What the rest of us feel is a sense of loss and despondency that comes with the knowledge that there is still so much hatred in the world, the country, and even next door to us. We impotently hate those who have refueled the flames of fear in our own hearts. Our fear has no direction and no one to blame. So we lay blame at the feet of the organization that Omar Mateen allegedly claimed allegiance to. We assign blame to the government that we fully expect to protect us from threats - both foreign and domestic. But is that the truth?
The truth is that all Muslims are not to blame for the zealous few. The truth is that our government's security is flawed but still manages to thwart probably more aggressors than we will ever be aware of unless redacted. The shootings in Orlando illustrate that no one and no organization is infallible. We are all just of flesh and bone and blood. But is that the truth?
We are more than just the clay of creation. More than just the mechanisms of mindless muscle and pumping blood from the organ we call our heart. The heart is more than that. It is a symbol of who we are and who we strive to be in life. Some radiate their heart out to others in need. The first responders who will forever be scarred with the scene they walked into this weekend. But they press on, always with mind to continue on to carry as many to safety as they can. The families will soldier on, not out of obligation but of honor of their dead and the lives they had led.
The rest of us. What of the rest of us?
The rest of us will soldier on as well. Some will channel our fear, anger and grief into something larger than ourselves. Our hearts will swell with something that we did not think possible at this moment. What positive thing could possibly grew out from the casting of blame, the fuels of fear, and the feelings of what holds us helpless?
I have heard that hope is known to spring eternal. May it find you and your true heart to raise you up. May it guide you to seek out others to help and be of support to those in need. May it light you up with the courage to continue on in the face of an always uncertain future.
Remember - the past is there to shape who you are in the present and to forge the person you want to be in the future. The future is uncertain, true, but it is malleable and can be shaped into whatever you desire it to be. Be strong, with hope, and live free of fear.