ellen mcbee

She's always up to something…

Florida, Or Who You’re Supposed To Be

I don’t know why it is, but whenever there’s a big news week with lots of things to blog about I don’t. Maybe it’s just that I don’t want to jump in too quickly, before my thoughts are really formed. In any case, I have my knee-jerk reactions to things that when I’ve taken more time to really look at what happened, I quite often change my mind.

First, the shootings in Orlando broke my heart. Seeing the pictures, seeing the families, a crime scene, the horrific numbers. The shoes of the surgeon who worked on a lot of the victims. I do not pretend to have any kind of line into the mind of the shooter, but whether it was terrorism or a hate crime, or he felt like he wasn’t included enough in the Pulse family, this guy took revenge on these people because he thought they weren’t acting like they should.

Next, a little boy got dragged in by an alligator at Disney World. After the family saw this happen, they were vilified online. Because people think the parents aren’t careful enough, watchful enough; they aren’t who they should be.

I guess my theme is pretty obvious now.

The people attacking these parents online, the man with the weapon, both had one important thing in common: they were judging people for not acting the way other people think they “should” act. In the case of the people going after these parents, there’s a huge dose of Why This Will Never Happen To My Child. Of course I’m not inside the mind of the Pulse shooter, but whatever his reasoning at the base of it was They Don’t Act Right.

And the basis for both? Eventually, it’s I Am Better Than Them, So I Can Act Any Way I Want. They Deserve What I’m Going To Do To Them. Whether that’s by putting hateful words on the internet, or putting bullets into people who are already dead, it comes from the same place.

Eventually it doesn’t matter if the hateful words come from Franklin Graham or from ISIL or from the Huffington Post. Words are weapons; there’s no controlling who they wound. I still believe in telling our own truths, but pushing our own agendas onto other people is wrong, however we do it. Does telling people who they “should” be have any good outcomes? This is the definition of marginalizing; telling people they don’t belong, and they aren’t doing it right, is not what America is for.

These mass shootings, and mass shamings, are all eventually vigilante justice. When people think the law isn’t doing its job, they take it into their own hands. America is a nation of laws, laws made by the people who live here. Seeing the Senate filibuster this week, when elected legislators took gun control into their own hands? I got emotional, partly because I feel like someone is finally doing something (although that’s a subject for another post), and partly because I saw America working for change.

Incidentally, I’m calling him the shooter or “that guy” because I don’t remember his name and can’t be bothered to look it up. And I think we should skip all the media coverage and making him famous and speculating about motive and just call him Another Judgmental Bastard. They could even call them that on the evening news: “Today, Another Judgmental Bastard opened fire before turning the gun on himself…”

I think America is for personal fulfillment, whatever way we see that. For generations it was about financial gain. Religious freedom. Freedom from fear and persecution. Let’s not become the thing our people left the Old Country to get away from.

Don’t be Another Judgmental Bastard.

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