Then, there's the reaction. You see some of the most uplifting things in times like this. You see the President of the United States speaking at a memorial service. You see professional athletes and entertainers visiting the surviving wounded and the grieving loved ones. You see communities and and arts communities with otherwise little in common banding together to diagnose and digest what exactly just happened to all of them, together, without discrimination or judgement.
Unfortunately, there's a bad apple that ruins it for everyone. I understand this bad apple, but I don't necessarily agree with it, and here's where I share my thoughts.
Earlier today, while perusing some of the standard news blogs and social networking sites, I came across a picture of the suspect's head PhotoShopped onto one of those targets that marksmen use, the ones that look like people. And while I can't help by sympathize and even mostly agree with the idea that, had someone in that theater had a legal concealed weapon that they went through a permit process to receive, there may have been less death, that short time has passed. The instant of whether or not they were able to protect themselves has passed. It's over. It's done. We grieve. And with that, there's a celebration of sorts in calling for the suspect's death. Not a death in terms of justice as far as the system is designed to accommodate, but a death in the slightly-better-than-the-suspect's-mindset-in-the-first-place-but-not-really terms. In other words, those who seek revenge instead of justice are no better than those who committed the crime in the first place. Yes, this guy, if proven to be so, was a bastard. Does he deserve to die for what he did? I defer to the court and the jury's judgement in that case. However, will his death be one I celebrate? I don't think so. I think it's a cold and dark place people go to when they decide that anyone's death is worth celebrating. I'm not referring to those people who celebrate the lives of their loved ones when they pass away. I'm referring to the people who are so consumed by hatred, anger, and fear that they almost find a joy in seeing others suffer.
Don't be that person. Raise the bar for yourself if you haven't already. Death for death's sake is a horrible thing, and when, despite everything you may have lost, you stoop to that level, the level that's only marginally above how these things get started in the first place.