Note: This is not a post furthering an agenda. Unless that agenda is “Try not to be evil.”
I’m sure most people know about the Orlando shooting by now. I didn’t until just this morning because I tend to avoid news outside of what pops up uninvited on Facebook while I am talking to friends on chat. I had just discovered the brilliant workaround of placing a napkin over the fb news box when I started chatting with my pal Merbear. First we discussed our emotional states (meh) and how to scramble eggs properly (I cannot even accomplish this) and what we were currently eating (Me: waffles. Her: An English muffin with sausage and cheese – just in case you were wondering). She had just written a post on the tragedy, and was more than a little bummed that our world seems to be going straight to Hades.
“It’s simple, evil exists.” she said. “How do we fight evil? How?”
I’ve had difficulty writing lately. It’s hard to see outside of a sad pony, and often you turn inward. My plan was to try to pull out a post for my daughters’, because Thing Two just had a birthday on the 10th (12 years old?) and Thing One will turn 16 (16 years old?????) on the 17th. Then I realized that even with the depressing subject matter, I could do both. Mer mentioned that she wouldn’t want to bring children into this world now. I agreed, but then I thought of my own kids who are here now. I felt badly for them, for all the violence and hatred that they have faced, and will face. But then I remembered that they are the answer on how to fight evil. You fight evil with good, and hope, and love. I know, I don’t normally talk like I’m farting out skittles (as Merry would say), but it is the truth.
The other day we were driving and a man stood on the corner with a sign. As usual I tried not to make eye contact. I never know what to do in that situation. It’s kind of dangerous to just hand out money to someone while you’re driving – you might get hit by someone. Plus I wonder if it will do any good at all. One dollar? Five dollars? I don’t know. But when I looked behind me I saw that Thing One had her hands grasped in prayer. I thought it was because I’d just called her, in a friendly type way, a little twit for something. But no, she was praying for the man. Because, as she said, he’d asked for prayers.
No fanfare. No look at me I’m praying! I’d have never noticed if I hadn’t looked back. Sure, you might say, it’s just a prayer. She didn’t go out and invite the homeless person into our car so we could get him a room at the Hilton with a free breakfast. But she did do something that too many Americans aren’t doing enough of today. She took a few minutes out to think about someone else’s misfortune. Her sister is equally sincere in her empathy for others, often challenging those who bully others. I try to be a good mom, but that’s not all me. A lot of that is just who they are. And it is those values that will give them hope to keep going, to keep offering kindness, and to make a difference in this world.
And they, thankfully, are not the only ones. A line of people formed around a blood donation bank early the next morning. This was symbolic not only of thinking of others, but of doing something about it. They were giving blood for the blood lost. It will be too late for the 50 victims of this tragedy, but not for the many injured people today, and those who may sadly be shot tomorrow. As John Oliver says, “The terrorists are vastly outnumbered.” I’ll show you a clip, because he says this all better than I do.
I saw much discussion in the comment sections of articles on Facebook. As usual, many have turned to politics. Either wanting to take guns or have more guns or complaining about the agenda to have guns or not have guns, or just blaming it all on Obama like they do the mayonnaise shortage at your local Subway. Certainly the fact that it was a gay club, and the terrorist was Islamic played into the response in places. But that – as I stated above – is not what I’m getting into right now, although I easily could (and have). It’s about the basic question: How do we fight evil? Hint: It’s not in a political argument on Facebook.
It’s in thinking of others. It’s in doing for others. It’s in following the greatest commandment no matter what your faith: Love one another. Even if all you do is buy a coke for one person feeling down (you don’t have to buy a coke for the entire world), you did something. You made a difference. We all make a difference, all the time, with our words and actions. For good or for bad, we make a difference. Let’s try to make the right difference. Here’s just a few more examples of what people have done for the victims in Orlando, Florida, from the Orange County sheriff’s office.
We thank the legions of supporters who are reaching out to the Orlando community!!
As the investigation remains active and open in the horrific Pulse nightclub mass shooting, here are some resources and links available to the public.
•Orlando officials are identifying the victims and notifying their families. The names of the victims will be added to this link: http://www.cityoforlando.net/blog/victim….
•The Department of Veterans Affairs is providing emergency mental health assistance to Veterans, employees, and the general public in wake of the mass shooting. An Orlando VA Medical Center Mobile Medical Unit is located at the Beardall Senior Center, 800 Delaney Ave, Orlando, 32801, or call 321-277-6672.
• Blood donations — OneBlood has reached capacity for blood donations, so no further donations are immediately needed. However, anyone interested in making an appointment to donate in the near future can go to oneblood.org/donate-now/ or call 1.888.9Donate.
•Funds for victims and families — Equality Florida has set up a GoFundMe page at Gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund.
I wish my beautiful daughters good luck in the future. It may look dim now, but they will add brightness. Because they are my Things. They are my antidote to despair. They are my reason for hope. I love them both, and wish them a happy birthday.
Alice, I really love your kids. Please tell them that.
For point of interest, I believe that the shooter was only Muslim in name, and not in faith, from articles seen elsewhere online. If he were a truly devout Muslim, he’d be fasting because it’s Ramadan, not going out shooting people. Sadly, his not being Christian is being used to once again paint all followers of Islam in a bad light. I really, really hate politics at times…
And you are so, so right. Little acts of kindness spread kindness ripples. We need to concentrate on doing more of these. With the recent celebrations here in the UK for Her Majesty’s Official Birthday, one observation about both the Queen and Prince Philip was that they’ve both been able to do what they’ve been doing and to continue to do it, and the whole of the Royal Family, because they don’t think of themselves, they think about fulfilling their duty to their country. I think this explains why so many of the chaps in the Royal Family have been in the Armed Forces. You do the job that is in front of you, because it is the right thing to do for the people you are serving. Now that is what I call an example to follow.
The shooter also pledged allegiance to ISIS, so he probably was Muslim not only in name: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/12/us/orlando-shooter-omar-mateen/
But ISIS are only Muslim in name. It’s Ramadan, and they should be fasting and praying, if they are true followers of Islam. There are any Muslims who object to ISIS being referred to as Muslim, because they are a terrorist group. It’s like referring to the Westboro Baptist Church as Christian. If they’re following the teachings of Jesus, they must be using a different Bible to the rest of the world.
I’m sure ISIS does fast and pray, but still find the time to kill people in between these rituals. And the fact that they cherry-pick the worst parts of the Koran and the hadith to follow, or the fact that they are not considered true Muslims by many others doesn’t make them non-Muslims, because to be a Muslim, all you have is to believe that Allah is God and Muhammad is his prophet – declaring sincerely is basically the entire process of conversion to Islam.
And as long as WBC members sincerely believe in God and Jesus, that should still make them Christians – they are using the same Bible as the others but choose to focus on the few homophobic passages in it and not so much on the loving-thy-neighbor part. (Or maybe they do follow the love-thy-neighbor doctrine just as long as the neighbor isn’t gay.) And it seems that it is acceptable for a group of people to emphasize one part of the Bible more than the other groups to still be considered Christian, because this is how it’s possible for a Christian to be Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Greek Orthodox, and so on.
But the different Christian denominations are not, generally, fighting amongst themselves these days, and if asked, would say that Westboro BC are not following accepted doctrine, and neither are the KKK. So when my Muslim friends, who are observing Ramadan, or my Iranian friends who have converted to Christianity from Islam, say that ISIS aren’t true followers of Islam, I’m inclined to believe them. Belief is shown by actions, and massacres are not the actions of a faithful believer, whether Christian or Muslim.
Your argument would sound much more convincing if not for the pair of facts that both the Bible and the Koran are peppered with violent and intolerant passages, and last couple of millenia of human history are filled with wars, genocides, oppression, and terrorism justified by these very passages.
I am not going to dispute the fact that many Muslims and Christians are peaceful and tolerant people, and that religious books do teach kindness – but these hateful passages and violent fanatics are there, too, and they’re faithful believers, too (unless you define a “faithful believer” as someone who doesn’t commit acts of violence, not by what they actually believe).
There to show how humanity got it wrong, not to prove that that is how you should do it. Both Jesus and Mohammed taught peace, love and respect of self and others. How can someone who is spreading hatred and violence call themselves a follower of either?
You could argue that humanity got it wrong and the Bible and the Koran are all about peace and love and kindness.
Or you could actually read these books, because in addition to peace, love, and kindness you’ll find violence, intolerance, cruelty, and so on.
Here it is in the Bible, summarized for convenience: http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html
And here it is in the Koran: http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/cruelty/long.html
Now all of that bad stuff is a small portion of each book, but it’s absolutely there. So I am glad to know that you and many other believers choose to not focus on these parts, but those who choose to act on these sections ARE following these books, too.
X, ISIS has not claimed him. He is using their hatred of gays to justify his actions. The US gov’t went through him with a fine tooth comb – electronics, followed him, interviewed neighbors and friends, checked his mail, tapped his phone – and they found nothing. He is just using ISIS as an excuse – he does not regularly attend worship of Islam and does not have any strong connections. This man is not a terrorist as he had no political agenda – the definition of terrorist.He is a home grown American boy who has learned to hate gays and chose to shoot them. The atmosphere of hatred being generated by Trump certainly encourages acting against any group anyone has chosen to hate.
Paul, ISIS had previously called on its supporters to commit terrorist acts on American land, and Mateen had pledged his allegiance to ISIS before his attack which was exactly the kind of an attack ISIS would do. So even if FBI doesn’t find an actual laminated ISIS membership card and a typed memo from ISIS directing Mateen to attack a gay club in his papers, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for ISIS to disavow Mateen.
And by pledging allegiance to ISIS, Mateen has signed on to ISIS’s political agenda – and by now we have a pretty good idea what it is. So yeah, he is definitely a terrorist.
That doesn’t mean he can’t also be a bigot or mentally ill or a sloppy mosque-goer – none of those things are mutually exclusive with being an Islamic terrorist (just as being a homegrown American boy), but his pledge firmly defines him as an Islamic terrorist, while those other things are at best very likely and at worst just unproven conjectures. We’re finding out that he was likely a homophobe and he did pick it up here in the US since he was born here – but he didn’t pledge allegiance to Westboro Baptist Church or another Christian hate group.
I see your point X but that is hokem you know – If i hated gamblers and wanted to kill them – i could justify it by pledging allegiance to ISIS.
Theoretically, you could, but what possible reason would you have to make up false motives if you expect to be killed in the process – if you expect to die, you would want everyone else to know that, say, gambler ruined your life or something. And if you’re expecting to get away with this murder, why would you want to call attention to yourself by personally calling 911 while in the act of murdering people to give a false justification that would guarantee you a harshest punishment possible if you were to get caught?
I told them. They think you are awesome, of course. I did have admiration for the way Princess Diana brought up her boys to know they are not God’s gifts, but just wealthier children with responsibilities. I think Wills is very level-headed, as is Kate. I liked how he said “Thanks for being so happy about our baby, but she’s still a baby.” Lol. I hope that America and its allies, like Britain, can band together against this mess. But with our country so full of hate of its own people, we’ve got a long way to go.
What a beautiful post. We have to believe that most people are like your kids, kind. And that we will overcome the evil.
We do. Otherwise, why keep going? Thank you, Mer, for the inspiration. I hope you’re okay with me sharing your breakfast menu.
I believe in kindness, but I don’t believe evil can be possibly defeated permanently. But I think it makes sense to make it a little harder for evil to buy a gun.
You have no idea how hard it was to avoid politics in this post. Personally, I wish guns had never been invented. I also rather wish Trump as presidential candidate had not been invented. Or Isis. Or stupidity. The list goes on and on.
I don’t think evil can be defeated. I just hope to hold it at bay.
So, you’ve tried to avoid politics – and I think I’m helping by turning all discussions to religion, am I not? 🙂
Happy Birthdays to both of your daughhters. I keep hoping that the world is good as evidence that your daughters care by showing empathy. Then something like Orlando happens. I hope they don’t becoke jaded.
So do I Jaded – unless it’s like you. Thanks.
Happy Birthday to your daughters :o) I wish they will have a future and maybe the next generation is able to make it better. I hope that this generation will find a way without hate and violence…
All are my hopes as well.
Happy Birthday to Thing #1 and Thing #2. And yes, love will prevail and the girls have a loving mother who has obviously given them excellent examples.
Aw, thank you, Paul. I appreciate it.