Our nation was hit by a terrible tragedy over the weekend. I know I usually post on Friday’s but I found it hard to remain silent. This tragedy is just one more square added to the quilt of crisis that had been blanketing our world for years. It was an awful, sickening act and a terrible loss. My heart goes out to those who suffered and I will do whatever I can to help, having already donated to whatever causes I could find.
One thing I have to discuss though is the priorities of some people during this time. It is great to me how many people have come out on Facebook and other social media platforms to show their support. Whether you share a post, make a quick shout out, or changed your profile picture, the people involved just want to know that there are people out there with them. Crying for justice, providing them aid, giving them hope. A virtual shoulder to lean on.
What disgusts me to an extent is the amount of people posting and tearing people apart for how they decide to support the situation. Deciding that this way of coping with tragedy is somehow inferior to their own. To those people: why does it matter? This isn’t to people spreading the word and commenting on how few people they are connected to are reacting to it, or those shouting for the media to paint this tragedy correctly and stop feeding the demagogy of a deranged carrot. That’s legit. People should react, the media should package this correctly and truthfully. I more speak of those who claim something is not enough. Changing a profile picture is not enough. One small donation is not enough. These Desktop Activists that focus the attention of the activity of others and pull the focus away from where it should be, from the loss of 50 innocent individuals and the damage done to them and to the survivors. It detracts from the ongoing conversation and the battle to see some sort of positive change come out of this horrific incident.
I don’t claim to be the most politically charged person online. I will talk about political views all day in person, but I truly believe that the internet is just such a volatile place that political discussion ends up just spinning tires. It is so much easier to dismiss an opposing point online, whether rational or not. So I’m gonna choose to not discuss the claims of terrorism, the concept of gun control, or any of the other political click bait phrases rolling around right now. I want to talk purely about us.
In a crisis, we as a collective online need to set the political mess aside to some degree for a time and support those affected. We need to focus on raising awareness of the incident and spreading the word about means and outlets for helping those individuals. Every bit of energy spent on judging how someone decides to support or cope is energy wasted that could have gone to further aid. If someone chooses to change their profile picture, or retweet and tweet, and leave it at that, they are a supporter. They are an equal warrior in the fight for justice, for aid. Grab on to that person and welcome them into the ranks, don’t send them packing. There is know requirement in sympathy accept one: love and compassion for your fellow man. To have a weeping heart for the lives lost, to the lives changed. How you focus that doesn’t matter. The people who can only whisper need the people who scream and visa versa. Support comes in numbers, loud or others. It comes in spreading the word however you deem possible or necessary. And you should not be judged by your choice.
If you take to your social media platform of choice today, just try your hardest to share what happened, what’s needed. Avoid the politics, avoid the pandering. Moreover, focus on gaining as much awareness and support as possible, however it manifests. Let’s see what we can do to help those affected.
Let’s stand with Orlando.
Some helpful links:
Orlando Youth Alliance
Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence