With all of the recent tragedy in the news the last few weeks, it's occurred to me that people really want to do this to other people.
Sunday morning, I had the privilege of witnessing both the baptism of a friend's son, and the Brit Bat of a friend's daughter. (Sequentially. Not simultaneously. That would be an interesting service!) But while I was shedding tears of joy, people were shedding tears of anguish and fear over a horrible event in Orlando. Their friends and loved ones were shot. Some were dead. Some were fighting to live. Countless lives were shattered. But my feelings of grief were followed by feelings of horror after reading reactions on social media. The carnage was the fault of Muslims. It was the fault of Conservative Christians. It was the fault of Democrats. It was the fault of the NRA. It was the fault of anyone who wasn't actively and loudly lobbying for LGBT rights at this exact moment. Accusations were flying all over the internet. It was everyone's fault.
I've concluded it pretty much is everyone's fault. Everyone who likes boxes. Well, everyone who likes to put people into boxes.
Gays vs. people who live a "normal" lifestyle.
Conservative Christians vs. people who aren't crazy.
Muslims vs. people who like peace.
Gun owners vs. civilized folk.
Republicans vs. people who care about others.
Democrats vs. people who believe in liberty and freedom.
People who vote for my candidate vs. people who are obviously evil.*
*Um, I don't agree with these binaries. I just see them on Facebook. A lot. Really, a shocking amount of my FB feed includes people posting "Us" vs. "Them" comments, clips, links, etc. And the "Us" vs. "Them" commentary is coming with an increasing amount of vitriol. Some I would characterize as hateful. There is a level of hatred that is frightening to watch. Hatred over things that don't make sense to me. If I guy burned down your house and killed your dogs, I guess I could understand you hating him. (I personally would pray to be able to forgive him, but I'm not going to force that burden on you.) But hating him because he thinks single-payer healthcare is a better idea than a market-based system? Really? You think that justifies your hatred? If so, I think you're just as much to blame as a guy who hates the sight of two men kissing so much that he feels the need to shoot up a nightclub. Those two reasons for hatred seem equally ludicrous to me.
So if you're busy putting people into boxes of "us" vs. "them" and allowing yourself to hate whoever is in your "them" box, you are at fault. Because that's the same kind of mentality that drove the shooter to kill 50 innocent people. And I'm very afraid of where that mentality is taking us.