Like everyone else, when I woke up this morning and the first thing that I heard was news of the horrific shooting in Colorado last night at the Dark Knight Rises premier. And again, like many others, I have scoured the Internet looking for news and information to try to make sense of this disgusting and tragic act of violence.
Obviously, we all have the same initial reaction to this news. We wonder how someone could be so sick to commit a crime as atrocious as this. We think about the victims and our hearts go out to their families who are dealing with losing their spouses, friends or (choke) children. We wish we could find a way to help them in their greatest hour of need and respond through prayer, thoughts and monetary donations.
And then, we turn to other means of comprehending the tragedy - blame. I was originally going to talk about all of the posts I have seen chiding parents for bringing their children to a midnight showing of a PG 13 movie but Heather Spohr beat me to the punch and literally took the words out of my mouth with this wonderful and beautifully written piece http://blogs.babble.com/babble-voices/heather-spohr-more-spohr/2012/07/20/stop-victim-shaming/ so I will turn my focus elsewhere - blaming this tragedy on the religious tendencies of this nation.
It has always disgusted me when I hear of various religious groups blaming events on the actions and faith (or lack of) of the America public. Obviously, Pat Roberson and Jerry Falwell come to mind as the greatest offenders. They have both rather famously blamed a number of events (September 11, Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti) on feminism, homosexuality and liberalism by saying that God is punishing the United States for tolerating these "lifestyles" by inflicting these tragedies. I have already seen a few statements mirroring these sentiments in connection with this latest shooting.
Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas stated that the shootings are the result of "ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian Beliefs." Brian Fischer, a conservative talk show host on American Family Radio, said "We have forgotten God. That's why all this happened" and blamed the Supreme Court for taking prayers out of school. Sigh.
I don't care what your religious beliefs or political leanings are, statements like this do absolutely nothing to help the victims makes sense of this tragedy. And they don't need to hear it - believe me it does way more harm then good. All they are doing is turning a tragedy into a political situation instead of remembering that people died and their families are suffering. I am sure that many of the families (religious or not) are wondering why their God would allow something like this to happen and they sure as hell don't need people telling them that it's because kids don't pray in school or because America is becoming more tolerant of homosexuals. What they need is love and compassion in their greatest time of need. They need your tears, thoughts, prayers and understanding and not your religious or social agendas.
My heart goes out to the victims of the shootings and I send strength and love to their families. You are all in my thoughts.