Photo: Charles Eckert)

The recent massacre in Orlando, Florida is a tragedy (June 12, 2016). We almost had something like it in LA the following day too. We lose people every day to violence in America but something so aimless, so clearly designed to hurt as many lives as possible at once… It affects us as a people. My heart goes out to all who lost someone this weekend.

What kind of person does this? It doesn’t matter. He did it. We all know, whether we want to admit to ourselves or not, that we have people living amongst us capable of committing such acts. We have the weapons and the weirdos.

But we also have a basic trust that keeps us going. We look at each other in the street and pass by – under the assumption that we we’re ok living alongside each other at that moment in our lives. When someone acts out like this, it breaks that trust and concerns all of us. This means there are angry people out there – so afraid to pursue dialogue – they’d rather turn straight to violence than find answers.

But we have so much hate in this country, are you really surprised?

When’s the last time you chopped it up with a multi-ethnic group of people, and really listened to understand their background? The average American doesn’t care what people outside of their circle think. They look out for themselves and their people. That’s our right and we exercise it.

This mindset is not working for us, though.

We’re not at the forefront of social well-being globally. Americans want to be independent individually and expect others to help them. They’re greedy and conflict often – as the country is so diverse.

So, where does our common allegiance even lie as countrymen anymore? Do we actually care about each other or are we only concerned with our own situation and our immediate communities? When’s the last time you did a selfless favor for someone outside of your ethnic group, as a fellow citizen? We’ll always have extremists but we need to set the bar higher for ourselves too. Elevate the culture.

You’re either a part of the solution or the problem. Ask yourself, what do you believe? Do you really care about those people that died? If you don’t, think about all the different type of people that have to exist for your life to run. Who do you work for? Who do you work alongside? Who makes your food? Who built your car? Who do you rent your place from? Who maintains your phone reception? Who keeps your Internet running? Who takes your trash?

Check yourself. I seriously doubt all of those people are of your ethnicity, your race, religion, and whatever else that makes you – you. You’re great but think about all the people that help you indirectly. You have been helped by gay people, straight people – people of all colors, shapes and sizes.

Get out of your shell and learn. Educate yourself. Voice your opinion but think about what your goal is. Are you guiding people in a positive direction or perpetuating hate? Find satisfaction in the pursuit of knowledge – this is how we’ll motivate ourselves and our communities to better understand each other and stop the violence.

0