A gunman killed five people in Seattle.
This sort of event seems to happen often, but these deaths hit me close to home. Two of the victims were gypsy folk musicians. I didn’t know them personally, but I could identify with them. I am something of a gypsy folk musician myself.
That could’ve been me.
Have people become callous to violence? People tend to overlook tragedy until it touches them directly. I understand why people tune out stranger’s tragedy. The world is a tragedy machine. All the sadness, madness and injustice out there can be overwhelming if you take it too seriously. To cope we think a stranger’s tragedy does not concern us. We keep our personal distance.
Distance is a great source of tragedy in our world.
The creation of distance manifests in society in many ways. We condemn people of different color, religion, political leaning and sexual orientation when we perceive difference. This hostility exists when there is enough distance between oneself and the hated other. For example, you might have to rethink your views on same sex couples if your own son or daughter comes out of the closet. You might rethink how you feel about our health care system when someone in the family is struggling with both illness and their insurance company.
My stepfather was confronted with his racism when he sold a car to a black family. The family was respectable and hard working. The kids were clean and well behaved. They had good credit. He came home that night and said, “There are some good ones too.” That was certainly not enough but, for him, it was a big admission.
A lot of people feel like outsiders. Millions of us feel alienated in some way. In college I wondered how I could possibly fit in. Then a pretty girl smiled at me. I mustered up the courage to approach her and fire off a joke. It wasn’t funny but she laughed anyway. I later learned that she was just as insecure and unsure about her life as I was about mine.
And so I kissed her.
To bridge the gap and make the distance a little smaller remember Joe and Drew. They were two of the victims of the Seattle shooting. They were gunned down for no apparent reason. No one should be so far from you that they are out of reach of your love and understanding.
Like elephant culture on Facebook
John Whipple is a barefoot, vagabond musician, artist and writer based out of a Toyota pickup and wherever it is parked. His website can be found at http://barefootjohn.com. Email him at [email protected].
Editor: Carrie Stiles
hot on elephant
Elephant Journal’s Holiday Gift Guide 636 shares A letter to the Anger that refuses to Leave Me. 597 shares Waylon’s favorite Ethical Gifts. 13 shares Learn Social Media, Writing, Editing & Journalism Ethics with elephantjournal.com. 1 share The Real Reason so many Long-term Relationships Fail Sexually. 975 shares Trevor Noah just won my Respect. 2,567 shares Year of the Fire Rooster 2017: What to Expect. 993 shares December Forecast: Letting Go of 2016 & Leaning into 2017 with Love. 7,476 shares Why a Year of No Dating was the Best Thing I ever did for Myself. 7,575 shares These Tweets (and Retweets) actually Happened. 1,391 share