The problem, you see…

Like everyone else in the country, my heart breaks at Saturday’s horrific shooting in Arizona.  There is no sense to be made of six deaths.  There is no sense to be made of the gunman’s frame of mind.  There is, of course, plenty to debate, but in the end, no sense can be made of it.

I understand the need for dialogue.  It is only natural to want to disect and pull apart the layers of what happened Saturday to find a reason.  Seeking blame gives momentary solace, I suppose.  But it doesn’t change that fact that there are parents in Arizona whose arms now ache with longing to feel the weight of their child.  There is a spouse whose ears strain for a sound of her husband’s voice.  There are children who watch the door that their father will no longer walk through.  Blame only gets us so far, you see.

There are families walking through fires that most of us will never know.  There are tears being shed that are more bitter than the majority of us will ever understand.  There is a depth of sorrow more harsh than most of us could possibly imagine.  There is anger and pain and heartache and yes, fury.  Answers are longed for, many of which will likely never be found.  We can point fingers and accuse this person of saying this and that person of saying that, but is it truly productive?

I vowed awhile back that I wouldn’t delve into politics on this blog again and, for the most part, I haven’t.  I don’t think one can avoid politics altogether, particularly as a parent.  Parenting is political.  Politics matter because they determine the forecast of the world laid before our little ones.  So politics is not to be ignored.

However, I’m not a political writer and I don’t like confrontation (makes my stomach get all fluttery) and politics are confrontational.  So I steer clear when I can and today is going to be no exception.  This post isn’t about politics.  It’s about respect.  The way I see it, our country doesn’t have a problem with political philosophies that are “hateful” so much as a problem with respect.

There’s a word we don’t hear enough, right?

There are crazy people in this world.  People who think it’s okay to buy a gun and open fire in a crowd.  People who think it’s okay to hurt another in the name of a cause – any cause.  People who think it’s okay to fly planes into buildings.  The list could go on and on.  You can’t characterize evil and hate by any one group, any one religion or any one political party.  And no religion, no political party, no one place or vicinity should be tainted as a whole because of a crazy person.  Evil is evil.  Hatred is hatred.  Trying to pass it off as anything else misses the mark.

Instead of pointing fingers at each other, slinging accusations and political barbs, perhaps we could instead examine the need for respectful dialogue.  You know, the kind without name calling and back-handed jabs.  And it would do us all good to remember the families in Arizona whose lives will never again be the same.  Is jaded arguing and combing through each political figures’ every word with a fine tooth comb getting us anywhere but further steeped in the same back and forth jabbering?

Joe stated it well when he wrote, “When an event like this happens, our natural instinct is to reach for labels that allow us to separate ourselves from the ones who committed the evil. At this moment it may be liberals blaming conservatives, but in other instances it’s Christians blaming Muslims, whites blaming blacks, the poor blaming the rich, etc. (or the other way around). If instead, our first instinct is to see the evil that lives inside ourselves we will recognize that our lines of demarcation collapse and the ones we seek to marginalize are actually our own flesh and blood.”

It’s not that I’m not angry.  I am.  I hate what happened in Arizona.  Every time I see a picture of Christina Green my heart breaks.  And it’s not that I don’t want answers.  I want to understand what would make someone do something so horrible.  I want a reason as much as anyone else for what he did.

But I’m not going to find it in a political ad from two years ago.  And I’m not going to find a reason for it by slinging accusations into the great, wide nothing using words like vitriol and rhetoric.  All I can do is control my emotions and my anger.  And I would like to see others do the same.  It’s okay to disagree.  It’s okay to dialogue.

I do think a lot of people are dialoguing well on this topic.  There are many healthy discussions going on.  Unfortunately, the conversations getting the most attention are the sensational dialogues.  I’m glad we’re talking.  I’m glad people are examining motives.  I just hope that we can be productive in doing so.


  1. Kelli,
    Very, very well put.

  2. love what you said about throwing blame only going so far. This morning my pastor and I were talking about this and he gently reminded me that the problem in this world is sin–on every side–and that we live in a dark and broken world. The question is, what do we as individuals do to bring light and love into this dark place?