I am writing this post in the wake of the Pulse night club shooting, leaving forty nine dead and another fifty three injured, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Two days previous to writing this, Jo Cox, a Labour MP, a wife, and a mother, was shot and stabbed repeatedly on the street, supposedly by a man screaming ‘Britain First.’ She died hours later from the severity of her injuries. I am so repulsed and so disgustingly angry for each and every single person that was trapped in that club with a gunman hell bent on ending their lives because of their sexuality, for Jo Cox who had so much potential to give to the world, and for her family who are having to attempt to pick themselves up from such a brutally violent attack that ripped their wife and mother from them.
Humanity has always been incredibly talented in perpetrating violence. The pages of our history books are littered with humanity’s failings and selfishness, yet instead of learning, it seems if anything, day by day we wake up to increasingly graphic and deeply saddening acts of violence and hate. It seems difficult to suggest that humanity learns from its mistakes, and perhaps too optimistic.
However, I am wary of coming across as too pessimistic here, for that is the opposite of what I wish to convey as I write this, and not the point of this post either. As a species we have shown ourselves to be capable of great things, acts of immense generosity and kindness in the face of others suffering. The days following the Pulse night club shooting saw huge numbers of Orlando citizens lining up outside blood banks to donate and support those in critical conditions. In the wake of terrible events, communities never fail to come together to bring a fraction of light to incredibly dark times. I think this is my point – we prove over and over that humanity can do more, and can do better than what we see splattered across our newspaper headlines. It is naive to ever suggest that there are not going to be those out for money at the expense of human life and the good of the earth, or crazed fanatics and obsessives with a thirst for violence, but we are more than just that. Orlando is more than its recent tragedy, Syria is more than a war-zone, Jo Cox and her family are more than the legacy of her death. Yes, darkness taints these things, but only when letting it define them do we give up on humanity, and only when we see no better future for ourselves and our planet do we give in and allow the evil amongst us to triumph.
When sitting down to type this post I was aiming to focus on bullying and cyber-bullying alike, yet I have been somewhat sidetracked. I think, however, what I wanted to get on to discussing is intrinsically linked to everything I have previously mentioned. What makes spreading abuse and bitterness amongst our peers both in person and behind a computer screen all the more futile and saddening is the very fact that there is so much unneeded cruelty in the world as it is. We shake our heads and write up condolence tweets in light of shocking acts of hate that we see on the news, yet many of us seem to have little issue in spewing words of cruelty in our own more personal arenas or social media worlds. My point is, when there are so many reasons to wake up in the morning and question what humanity is doing to itself, would it not be more useful and logical to work towards showing more compassion in our own lives?
We operate in a world where companies and businesses profit from promoting competition, from idealising certain appearances or lifestyles, and I do not see it as remotely surprising that our generation has learnt to look at others and, more often than not, look for a means to bring them down. Our perceptions have, largely, been skewed by a media that works for profit, be that economically or politically. I think what I am really trying to convey therefore, is, when so much of what we see happening daily is out of our control, why not take what we do have power over and use it as a means to truly spread compassion and love in what we do?
We have a voice in this world, no matter how quiet it may be: we have the power to move mountains if we come together and work hard enough, and I think it is such a terribly sad waste to instead pour our efforts into futile acts of nastiness and hate. Why not try and treat everyone you encounter with the same decency that you would wish them to show to you? We are not perfect creatures, and we are bound to make mistakes: our emotions get the better of us at times and we say things we regret to people who do not deserve it. Yet this does not remove both the ability and duty we have to put our efforts and energy into acting with kindness. When there are so many people out to inflict pain and suffering on innocent people on the basis of skewed and perverse beliefs, the least we can do is promote compassion in our own lives and amongst others, no matter how small a scale it may be on.
Lots of love, Kirstie x