Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I'm posting this a day early, in case anyone is looking for an event to go to. There's a list of events around the world at that site.
This is not an easy post for me to write. It should be, because I believe deeply in the power of saying things outloud. I believe in the power of naming -- speak your fear and it can no longer control you. Give voice to your grief and it can no longer destroy you. But the truth is, I'm crying as I write this. Not only because so many good, decent people have died. I'm crying because I know that my sweet, amazing, gentle Emmy could be on that list one day and I cannot imagine being able to survive that.
I will never understand what motivates someone to kill another human being when their life is not in danger. I will never understand what it is inside someone that makes them pick up a weapon instead of simply walking away. I will never understand how human life can have so little value to some people. But I know that there are people in this world, far too many people, who can kill. Who can pick up a gun or a knife or a rock and strike out. For what? Because someone doesn't meet your expectations? Because they live their life in a way you don't approve of? Which god tells you that you can do that? Which god gives you permission? And how can the world, how can so many otherwise decent people, simply nod and say 'well, what did you expect? Not guilty!'?
I think of the families of those who have been killed. I think of them and I cry, because how do you cope with the knowledge that the world thinks it's OK to kill someone you love? How do you live with the knowledge that your neighbors and co-workers and the people who sit beside you every day on the way to work think that your daughter deserved to die? How do you ever have faith in anything, anyone again? How does the world ever make sense again?
It's far too easy for those who are not intimately involved to forget. Because it's too horrible to remember. It's too horrible to let yourself realize that yes, human life is so very very cheap to so many people. It's too horrible to let yourself realize that maybe YOU contribute to that attitude. But we cannot forget. We let these killings go unchallenged, unpunished -- a slap on the wrist is not a punishment. Finding a killer not-guilty because they freaked out over finding out their girlfriend had a penis is not justice. It's not acceptable. Full stop.