Okay, this is my last ranting and raving entry for awhile... Tomorrow I will go back to tap dancing bear.
What I would really like to do is put this up on Facebook but that would be opening a totally unnecessary and exhausting can of worms. So just this little post to vent it out a bit, and I will feel better because it is exhausting all my big girl muscles not to say something in a more public and less anonymous forum. (Not to mention, thus far in my blogging experience I am delighted to say that most of us seem to be way more reasonable when we disagree than some of the people on my Facebook friends list).
Most of the postings on Facebook about the shooting in Connecticut are perfectly loving, individual responses to something awful. I'm in no way irritated or annoyed by people who are posting about it every hour on the hour, I'm in no way irritated or annoyed by people who are ignoring it altogether and continuing to post shenanigans. I'm not even irritated or annoyed by the discussions on guns or mental health (if anything I'm grateful, even when someone says something totally off-putting, that most people seem to at least in this moment be in a place where they're willing to discuss it in the first place... I would also like to point you in the direction of this, which is the one thing that's being posted that I found particularly poignant and will hopefully make some people want to discuss how we deal with the mentally ill). I'm not irritated or annoyed by the quote about the incident that claims to be from Morgan Freeman (it's not - the person just seems to have put his name to it so that it got circulated.)
What I am annoyed by - and tell me I'm not alone here - is this, that's been circulating the last couple of days:
I originally saw it in my newsfeed because a friend of mine commented on one of their friends' posting of it. Then I read an article on Mike Huckabee making basically the same statement. Then a cousin posted it who is not that bright but means well. Then an aunt, who is really sweet but I don't think really put any thought into exactly how offensive this could be right now.
Again, these people who posted it are generally sweet people, who I think are just a little clueless and posting this only because their reading comprehension has led them to believe that it's saying "this is happening because we've turned our back on G-d".
That's not what it says though, does it? It says that there is violence in school because we don't allow G-d in school. And seeing as how this is being posted now, when at least in America you are either thinking about this Connecticut incident constantly, or trying your very best not to think about it, it's saying that this happened because there's no prayer in schools. Because in public schools, they don't enforce Christian prayer and they try their very best to be inclusive of all religions by not mentioning them at all.
I have zero problem with people talking about praying about this, or saying that we should turn to G-d. That is of course a very genuine, kind, and positive reaction when something like this happens. As I'm writing this there is an all-denominations memorial happening in Connecticut and I think that is lovely. What offends me about this doesn't have anything to do with being anti-religious or worrying about one religion stepping on another religions toes. I am not okay with this quote.
Had I seen this at some other point in time I would disagree, sure, but I wouldn't be terribly offended. This is being circulated now as a response to what has happened.
Fine, fine, I'm not religious. Tell me I don't get it. But I'm not an atheist either - so the very idea that anyone is implying that this happened because G-d is pissed about prayer not being in the US public school system is ludicrous and offensive. (I'm sorry, as many things as I may have wrong about this life I refuse to believe that G-d is that tiny seeing as how I still find it hard to believe that people can be that tiny).The idea that the shooter did what he did because he didn't pray in school is also ludicrous and offensive. (Also? I believe the shooter was homeschooled.) I have no idea if this is meant to say that the kids had this brought upon them because they didn't pray in school, or that the shooter did it because he didn't, but holy shit me. Really? Would either scenario be a better thing to say?
And the thing that offends me the most about it? Whether or not you realize it, it implies that these kids would not have died if there was prayer in school. That this is as a result of not following a Christian agenda in schools. There's a hint of "I told you so" to it that is just completely and totally inappropriate not to mention totally unrelated.
I'm not even going to begin to get into how many murders there have been in history on behalf of religion and G-d. Religious people murder. Non-religious people murder. Black people, white people, men, women, Christians, Jews, etc. etc. To try and blame it on simple personal statistics is disturbing and the idea that morals and religion always intersect is ignorant. People murder because they're mentally disturbed, they snap, or they are devoid of morals. They have access to a weapon and a victim. Whether that person is an atheist or a snake charming evangelist rarely has anything to do with it.
This happened because someone who was mentally ill got ahold of a gun and decided to off himself in a way that would attract attention. That is why it happened. His religion, lackthereof, sex, race, sexuality, or the fact that he was autistic (which is an entirely separate entry and very real concern I have that now people who have never heard of Aspergers are going to associate it with violence and/or a mental illness, which it is not) have absolutely nothing to do with it. I repeat, someone who was mentally ill got ahold of a gun and decided to off himself in a way that would attract attention. This is something that should make us wonder how we can better handle gun control, how we can better protect people and how we can better handle people who are mentally ill.
(Just think for a moment how much you would like it if someone told you you weren't pregnant because you weren't praying in the way that they do or in their preferred forum... and then multiply that times a million).
I am totally for talking about G-d and prayer when something like this happens, or any time you want, for that matter. We should all be doing some sort of prayer for these people and if that's not your thing, then thinking some positive thoughts and good vibes their way. But to imply that this happened in the first place because we don't require children to do that in public schools? Disgusting.
I'm sorry if I'm offending anyone by being offended by this. The people who posted this on Facebook are actually lovely and I'm guessing (hoping) that they didn't read it in the same way that I did.... I'm venting about it here again knowing I could offend some people because I just have to let it out rather than attack someone who I know means well. (And I get that most people who would post something like this mean well... We're all just kind of reaching for words or the thing to say, here.)
This is the time to come together and have reasonable, open minded discussions about how we help prevent something like this and how we help the people who had to live through such a horror. It's not the time to go finger-pointing or suggesting if only other people had your lifestyle, things like this wouldn't happen.
But whether these children were all in school praying 8 hours a day to whatever G-d you would prefer or grew up in a house where they don't believe in G-d, they had a right to live. Whether this gunman was praying 8 hours a day to whatever G-d you would prefer or grew up in a house where they didn't believe in G-d, he did not have a right to do this.
On to happier thoughts tomorrow.