First, I want to note that I reached for my rosary beads long before I reached for my keyboard. I pray first for those who were killed, injured, and their families. And I pray for those who might be considering a similar action. And I pray for our nation, including me, that we can respond with wisdom and compassion. And I will continue to do so.
Also, I want to note that though I may cite individual responses for the purpose of precision, I recognize that they were writing from considerable pain and fear, and my intent is not to single them out for ridicule, but to identify what I think are unhelpful patterns of thought in the hopes that we can do better going forward.
Here's one tweet that crossed my timeline:
On gun control, I stand by what I wrote in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre. It seems plausible to me that restricting access to certain weapons would reduce the severity of these types of incidents, and thus may be worth doing. I understand that "may be" sounds pathetically weak in the face of piles of dead bodies. I suspect I might have a stronger position if those advocating it were consistent and relentless and persistent in pursuing their goals rather than just popping up in the aftermath of these types of incidents. When I see this....How about not #PrayForOrlando but #DoSomethingAboutOrlando. Nothing's going to change unless we fix the gun situation and address hatred.— Joel Hynoski (@crankymate) June 12, 2016
I'm not seeing sadness at tragedy and a steely resolve to do the hard work necessary to prevent future incidents. I'm seeing what borders on delight at an opportunity to stick one's political enemies with the blame for something bad.
And, this may not be noble, but it doesn't make me want to help you.
As for the "hate," what I suspect many of those writing this mean is lecturing people like me, whose views may not be in perfect alignment with the current fashion, but who would never even consider voting for Trump, let alone committing any kind of violence.
This isn't going to do it.
Here's another tweet that crossed my timeline:
I could scarcely imagine a response more at cross-purposes to its stated goals.I literally never want to hear again that LGBT people in the bathroom are a threat to public safety.— Jeremy Moss (@JeremyAllenMoss) June 12, 2016
Most people who support things like the North Carolina law do not do so because they think that "LGBT people in the bathroom are a threat to public safety." The mainstream concern is that (non-LGBT) people in the population inclined to abuse might take advantage of liberalized bathroom access to commit abuse.
I'm not convinced that the NC law represents some Solomonic ideal of how to balance this concern with the needs of the trans population, but I am convinced we are not going to reach such an ideal without talking and, more importantly, listening to each other.
In short, the people who are committing these shootings, or even the people voting for Trump, are not reached by your hashtag campaigns, by your special avatar, or your celebrations of diversity. As a pro-lifer, I am an expert at how ineffective moral righteousness can be in changing hearts, minds, and policies. I'm not positive these people are reachable, but if they are, it will be through regarding them as people, not throwing your slogans at them.
This is hard work, I know. I know that I'm not always perfect in doing it.
But I think that's what it takes. I'm not sure we're willing to do it.