Every day during my lunch break, I sit outside in the city circle near my office. On a typical day you hear the chatter of young people and sometimes musicians. Yesterday was a little different. Along the fountain was a large banner and signs saying prayers for Orlando, a rainbow flag, and candles. No musicians played and a certain somber tone lingered in the air.
What happened in Orlando is undoubtedly tragic. As the stories of those who’ve passed come to light, we begin to put human faces to the death count, their stories, and who/what they left behind. While the political debate is for another post (sidenote: gun control- why are we still debating it?) I think this kind of violence affects us so deeply because of the terror and randomness. There is of course no reason the club goers deserved to die-by no fault of their own they were at the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s why these types of events are so difficult to understand…because there is no reason. You can look logically at statistical probability or biological factors and so forth, but when it comes down to it with death, even on a more general scale, there is often no tangible answer to the question “why?”
As a wise man named Albus Dumbledore once said, “It’s the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.” I think this hits the nail on the head and what is difficult for us, as people, to grasp. People are rational beings and while some may be more comfortable with the abstract than others, overall we aim to understand the world and how it works. We crave certainty in the form of shelter, marriage, job security, and even down to wanting to know what the weather will be tomorrow, but since we do not have certainty regarding death, it shakes us. Events of sheer randomness of the “wrong place wrong time” as in the case of Orlando, shake us even more.
The same wise man also said “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.” This is something I truly believe in. While our country and the state of world perhaps, may seem at times ridden with sadness, we must find and remember the existence of light and humanity. Look at Orlando: people lined up for hours in the heat to donate blood, volunteers rushed to the rescue or used their own cars to drive people to the hospital, and the global community quickly came together to donate snacks/water/money. In the wake of tragic events, we are reminded that even though hatred and violence exist, we must remember to look for light and hope.
The somewhat cold, but factual truth is that life goes on. For me, an observer of the events hundreds of miles away, life goes on quite normally. While I am sad, and the idea of death has been on my mind the past two weeks for other reasons, I’ve shared my thoughts with my best friend (and now my blog) and life continues to move forward. What happened this week reminds us of the brevity and value of life and the need for humanity: to be a little kinder to one another, to hold our loved ones a little closer, and to let go of our small annoyances and remember what in life matters.
To leave you with a final quote: “Do not pity the dead, Harry, pity the living, and above all those who live without love.”