I awoke this morning with a heavy heart, still grieving from last week’s violence. My news feed might have moved on, but the towns of Dayton, El Paso, and Gilroy are still reeling.
To the families mourning their loved ones today, I mourn with you. I weep with you. To the mothers and fathers of the victims, their sisters and husbands, their daughters and sons, I stand with you. I stand in solidarity with the oppressed. With the scared. With the scarred. I denounce white nationalism. I denounce the actions of the gunmen who have lived out their belief that violence was the best way forward.
Let us pause to consider the lives that were lost. The potential futures that were cut down. The rage that took these lives long before their time.
We cannot allow ourselves to become desensitized to these atrocities. These violent actions are not isolated incidents. These murders are symptoms of a deeper evil, symptoms of a deep hopelessness.
There is a violence that flows like magma under the surface of our nation. We read the headlines, week after week: shocked by the hatred of angry young men erupting in explosions of violence. This is a volcano that we can no longer ignore. This is a volcano that we need to face.
As evil and unthinkable as these actions are, we must come to terms with a horrible truth: these young men thought that a gun would give them what they wanted. These killers thought that the voice of a gun was the only voice left. It is a hopeless act: take the lives of strangers, kill innocent men and women.
What led these young men to believe that violence was the best way forward? That dialog was no longer an option? How did we get here?
The rhetoric of derision in these Divided States of America resembles the trenches of World War I. The grey zone of conversation is no man’s land, a dead forsaken place where nothing can grow. Conversation and conversion has eroded away. Dialog is at a stalemate. Hatred is equated with passion. Refusing to listen to opposing views is seen as faithfulness. Or strength. The loudest, least tolerant voice wins.
Terrorist networks aim to destroy the middle ground. Through public acts of violence and intimidation, they hope to force tolerant people of all faiths to choose a side. We VS they. Black VS white. They wanted to create a binary existence which would make it impossible to be compassionate and accepting of the other side.
Here’s an unfortunate truth: none of us know when we’re wrong until afterward. We think that we know the truth but we are all blind to our ignorance. Unaware of our own blind spots, we can’t know what we don’t know until we are educated about our ignorance. All of us: you, me, and even the murderous young men with the guns—we all think we’re choosing a logical, acceptable way forward. Until we learn otherwise, we truly think we are right. And without discourse, our ignorance remains.
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SOURCE: Relevant Magazine, Jon Foreman