Last weekend marked a milestone that no American is proud of: the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. History.
On Saturday, 50 people were murdered in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida and countless more injured.
There are a thousand reasons to be sad and to feel defeated by gun violence and hate in this country. A thousand. And we have a right to.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t feel incredibly, indescribably sad. I cannot even imagine what the families and friends of the loved ones who passed are going through right now. My heart goes out to all of them, and I know that nothing will ever be enough to bring them back.
But the rest of us have a job to do. We can’t stay in that sad place for very long because that (sad) place is not where lasting change happens.
Unfortunately this country has demonstrated that this is the place we first need to get to for change to happen, but it’s not the place where change actually takes place.
Americans in this country have been shown time and time again that gun violence is a problem. We spend a lot of time arguing back and forth about who is to blame: the NRA, the mentally ill, the parents of the mentally ill, the government, the law, and the list goes on and on ad infinitum. It’s the good old-fashioned Blame Game.
Yet the reality is this: blame won’t stop people from murdering. It will not.
I think we know this deep down. Anyone who has ever been scared (all of us) knows that when we are scared, we act in all sorts of crazy ways. When tragedies take place, we want to identify someone as the problem. We want to identify some group as the problem—to create an illusion that blaming that person is our solution. This is human. It’s not right or wrong, but it is not the way through this epidemic.
And, unfortunately, love alone won’t solve the problem either. I wish it could. I desperately wish that love alone was enough to stop these mass murders in schools, movie theatres, and nightclubs from happening.
I think it’s beautiful—the display of love en masse that has occurred after these tragedies. People do come together out of the woodwork like survivors of a shipwreck.
Love is powerful, but it’s not enough to make long-lasting change happen in our country.
We need people in leadership positions who are courageous, tactful, intelligent, action-oriented, and moral. We need people with experience. We need leaders who are willing to go to any lengths to stop horrific violence. We need the policy-makers to change. We need to…
I am not a political person by any means, but I have studied the ways in which change happens. That is kind of what we do as therapists and long-life students of relationships. And one of the things that I have learned is that the change doesn’t happen when we are overcome with emotion or sadness. It happens in the spaces in between those emotions.
Maybe, then, the changes we are seeking aren’t going to happen when our society is overcome with sadness and emotion. Maybe, it happens in the time in between.
Maybe, it happens when leaders work tirelessly contacting policy-makers, politicians, and NRW supporters.
So, rather than letting these tragedies come and go, and going on with our regular everyday lives, we need to work in the spaces between the tragedies to make sh*t happen.
Here are some things that you can do to help your community:
And here are five organizations dedicated to stopping gun violence:
Author: Ali Mariani
Editors: Erin Lawson; Lindsey Block (Has this been spot-checke before? Not sure why there are two editors but in case it hasn’t, please add me, Katarina Tavčar too :))