The Repulsive Thirst for Blood

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I sit in my office on a rainy night in Germany but I feel like I’m in Connecticut where a horrible shooting just took place. At Sandy Hook Elementary School, just a couple of towns away from where I grew up, a shooter shot and killed upwards of 25 people. Most of them were children. As I held my 1 year old before she went off to bed, I shuddered in horror and cried. I immediately understood the feeling of dread that anyone must have felt with children or loved ones in that school. This feeling of course was accompanied by confusion, frustration, and sorrow. 

News outlets keen to break a story mistakenly released a Facebook profile picture of a man assumed to be the killer. The release of this false information was immediately followed by angry hordes of justice seeking commenters. “Burn in hell”, “Murderer!!!” and comments to the like are rolling in by the tens of thousands. The cry for blood is deafening. I am able to understand this reaction as people seek payment for loss but I’ve never felt these feelings. This reaction is almost as repulsive to me as the initial crime. Why are people like this? I guess I just don’t have the gift of justice.

I’ve never understood people’s desire to respond to tragic violence with more violence. I didn’t feel it on September 11, 2001 when so many people died senselessly at the hands of fanatical terrorists and I don’t even understand it in the case of this massacre of school children. I think that revenge and cruelty enacted by any people at any time is bad for all people. All I can feel is sadness and loss. I hope that misinformation and suspicion doesn’t lead to any further confusion or loss of life. I think that job number one is to figure out how to stop this from happening again. 

My deepest condolences to those entangled in this tragedy. I hope that you find the strength to overcome.

3 thoughts on “The Repulsive Thirst for Blood

  1. I think its important to remember that everyone processes grief and needs to grieve in different ways. I find the pro-gun statements scrolling through my facebook wall to be appalling, but I need to remind myself that these people are expressing their grief through anger and desire for action. They’re trying to make sense of a senseless tragedy, just like me listening obsessively to NPR when my children are not around to hear the death toll climb higher, is in a way senseless. There’s no truly “right” way to respond emotionally to a tragedy of this magnitude. I don’t even really think its about justice or revenge. It’s raw emotion. I hope I have the grace to allow people to grieve the way they need to without shaming them or expecting their grief to look just like mine.

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