Here is everything I used to think of regarding Florida. I went to DisneyWorld once as a kid. (I remember lines and big plazas; not much else.) The part that juts into the ocean is slowly giving way to water. There was a voting debacle there.
This is the part where I am supposed to tell you how much I hate guns. How I would probably stop dating someone who had a gun. How I would much rather be shot than have someone else shoot the assailant to protect me. How I do not want anyone to fire a weapon on my behalf. I am supposed to tell you how I refuse to play paintball because it seems a little too close to the real thing today.
Sadly though, I am not angry enough. Like many others, I am becoming numb. I have no personal connection to Florida other than to an author I think is a decent person lives there. My dislike for guns is stronger than my horror at the event. So who I am to make demands when there are those with much greater personal stake and far more passion than I possess?
If you get a measure going to ban any sort of gun, I will support it. Until that time comes, I can only suggest a way of life that I hope makes things a little better.
I said it about Aurora (has it really been almost four years? We still have yet to learn?), and I will say it now. The world can break my heart with its cruelty, but it’s not going to keep me from enjoying the good things in life.
I have been trying to tell those I love that I care about them. I have been taking photos from my personal collection, writing about how amazing I think these individuals are, and have started sharing them with the larger world. It serves several purposes.
One, it tells the person that I care about them. Waiting until a person is dead to eulogize them? What a crappy way to live life. If you care for someone, think they are valuable and precious; then you better tell them. You can do it publicly like I feel like I should, or you can do it privately in a note or a Skype. Regardless, tell them. Do not assume they already know.
They may not react exactly as you like. I have had a few go either awry or awkwardly. I would still do it again. Better to be truthful and regret the execution than regret never even trying. (The same goes for dating. Ask ‘em out now; who knows if you will be able to tomorrow?) With most things, the more you do it, the better you become at it.
Secondly, if done in a public forum, it gets the conversation started. The first person I talked about was my sister. People could not wait to jump on the bandwagon. She would never talk about herself. However she is someone who is easy to love. Others were quick to comment, appreciate, and join in. My dad says that she felt very loved and appreciated by the outpouring. If you put it out there, others might chime in. It is worth a try.
Speaking solely for myself, it also gets me out of my own head. I can obsess about myself and my situation quite easily. It takes no effort to talk about me, me, and me. I am not fascinating enough to talk about twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. My loved ones, on the other hand, are. The more I talk about them, the less I care about me. They should get the spotlight, not me. In a world of Instagrams, Twitters, and selfie-sticks, it is far too easy to be caught up in ourselves. Celebrating other people is a much saner approach to life in my mind.
I am always too quick to get caught up in my own hype. Better to focus on someone else. If you are really worth talking about, someone else will do it for you. Why only listen to your own horn tooting when there is a whole orchestra at work?
In my naïve, hopeful way, I think that it could make the world a better place. A person is a lot less likely to shoot others if they feel loved. I do not want to diminish the tragedies by suggesting that these shooters just need to be hugged. But I do feel that in a time when so much of us feel alone, having people remind us that we are cared for is for the best. The more affection someone receives from their community, the less isolated they will feel.
A pastor friend of mine thinks we should be ready to lose our loved ones at any second, because apparently that is the way things are headed. That feels a tad too cynical for me, though I understand the reaction. As for myself, I prefer to make the effort to love and talk about those I care about because there simply is no reason to wait. Take the time now. What if my friend is right and you will be standing at their tombstone sooner than you think? A little expedited effort would not hurt. C’mon, Jack Nicholson did it.
Rage against the gun industry if you feel so led. Call for better care for those who are mentally disturbed. But I would encourage you to take time to care for your loved ones. Protecting those you hold dear is all well and good, but do not let it get in the way of loving them.