Yesterday morning, my office was put on lockdown because the Charleston shooter was believed to be in our vicinity (his mother lives less than 10 minutes down the road from where I work). Thankfully, he was nowhere nearby and was taken into custody without incident, but it was so surreal to think that something like that was happening in my home state. It’s always been something that happens in other places, far away from us. I spent four of the most amazing years of my life in Charleston, and I’m having a hard time imagining something this horrific happening in such a magical place.
Others are more adept at putting their feelings into words than I, so I thought I would share this passage written by Patton Oswalt after the Boston bombings that I always go back to in times like these (which come far too often, it seems):
“…I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, ‘Well, I’ve had it with humanity.’
But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.
But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out…This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.
But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will.'”
Garden and Gun posted a beautiful video of hundreds of people in Charleston coming together to pray and sing in honor of the victims. You can find it here.
Please keep the 9 victims of this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers as you go about your weekend:
Ethel Lee Lance