Since Friday when in first heard about the tragedy in Aurora, CO, I have probably started this post four or five times in my head, on the iPad and the laptop. It’s a serious topic, involving real people, suffering real pain inflicted by a mad man for reasons as yet fully unknown. Obviously, I want to avoid being my normal, snarky, smart alecky self.
At first, I started out thinking that I wanted to talk about the need to examine your core beliefs and establish a personal “rules of engagement” if you will for situations like this. That idea arose from a discussion I had with a friend from church Friday afternoon. He asked the question of what I would have done. Heck, I don’t know. I wasn’t there, and I’ve never been in a situation like that before. I would like to think that I would have the faith and strength of character to put myself between the shooter and those around me and use every tool at my disposal to protect them and get them to safety. Some who were there did just that while others did not. I don’t write that as praise or condemnation. It is merely a statement of fact based on reports I’ve heard so far.
I would like to think that I am ready and willing to die trying in the process. No less a person than Jesus Christ Himself said “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13) That’s not exactly Plan A, of course. My preference would be to make the other person die trying, but that’s a discussion for another time.
I thought about getting into a discussion of gun rights versus gun control; but, honestly, that horse has been run over by the cart after dropping dead from a thorough flogging. I am a member of the gun community. I believe in the right to own and bear arms. Not much is going to change that view. Others believe differently and have little interest in what I have to say on the subject. Though, for the record, I think that gun control advocates are kinda like Ray from Ghostbusters trying to choose the form of Gozer the Destructor. Ask Rahm Emanuel and Michael Bloomberg how well they have succeeded at controlling the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.
And here I was trying to avoid snark…I apologize.
So, what DO I really want to say about Friday’s events?
Go love someone.
Anyone. Right now. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Carry a gun. Don’t carry a gun. I don’t care, but go find someone you care about or really like a lot and love on them.
Why am I saying this?
Allow me to give a little back story first. Ever since my wife, The Queen, and I got married, I have gotten up, gotten dressed and left the house for work before she even wakes up (most of the time…there are exceptions). I have always made it a point to give her a kiss as she lies there sleeping and tell her I love her before walking out the door. Anger, sad, or happy, argument or no, I did this because I wanted to make sure that, if anything happened to me, the last thing between us was an act of love.
Until recently. I have gotten out of the habit. There are lots of excuses, but the bottom line is that I have gotten away from doing what is in my heart.
And then I came within about 2 seconds of dying on the way home from work today. A fool in a large, black pickup ran a red light right in front of me. I can’t say for sure how fast he was going, but I would guess at least 40 and probably 50 or more. I believe he was accelerating. He would have hit my comparatively small Nissan Maxima square in the driver’s side had I made the intersection just a second or two earlier. Honestly, I can’t say for certain that I would have died, but I have investigated enough car accidents to know that serious injury and a trip to the hospital was the bare minimum that I would have gotten away with had he hit me at that speed.
It has shaken me to my core that I might not have made it home to my wife and foster kids this evening. Fortunately, I did get to hug and kiss The Queen and baby M&M this morning before I left. The Queen woke up early, and we shared a little three way hug before I had to go.
12 people in that theater Friday morning didn’t get to go home to their families, and at least 50 or 60 others came close to sharing their fate. Those 12 will never be able to love or be loved again (except in memory). They are beyond the cares of this world now. If it were possible to resurrect them right now, my bet is that their one wish and desire would be for more time with their loved ones.
When the dust settles, no one cares about how good or bad we are with a pistol or a rifle. No one cares how many or how few training classes we’ve taken. What they care about and remember most are the times we were there for them, when we hugged them when they needed it most, when we listened to them, shared their joy, their pain and their lives.
Go. Love. Someone. Now.