Saturday 1441 – 15th December 2012
Today I had planned on writing a light-hearted post entitled “It seems this may well be my very last post !” It was going to be about the much heralded “end of the world” on the 21.12. 2012
Real events have taken over but indeed it must feel like the “end of the world” for those parents and loved ones of the 20 small children and 7 adults ( including the gunman) killed in the shooting at a Connecticut school in America on Friday.
As a mother, daughter and friend my heart goes out to all of them. I wish them strength to endure the grief that must surely be almost too much to bear right now and I am meditating on peace and healing for them.
This is not going to be a post about second-guessing the motive of the killer; the why’s or wherefores, which may never fully be known.
It’s a post about witnessing how people on Facebook have responded to this most terrible of events, using it to their own ends to further their ideas/causes or being just plain malicious. It has yet again made me feel a sense of deep hopelessness about the future of humanity. I will try to keep this brief if I can but I hope you’ll stick with me to the end and add your comments.
I’ll start with the wrong information being given about who was the suspect. I heard, like everyone else, that it was a 24-year-old. Then this was later retracted and his 20-yr-old brother, who was reported to be carrying his brother’s ID, hence the mistake, was named as the gunman. I immediately felt for the 24 yr old who was being blamed for the killings and did a search on Facebook to see if what I suspected might be happening was indeed happening. Sadly it was!
As well as this young man’s genuine Facebook page there were dozens of other fake pages using one or other of the 3 photos he had on his own page. Let me be clear these were fake profiles using the same name and lots of people were posting hideous comments about killing him etc etc even though by this time it had already been announced that he was not a suspect.
2 things.. firstly how can people be so vile as to set up fake profiles at a time like this presumably in order to get some kind of personal gratification from watching the comments that ensue? secondly how can people think it helps to make hideous comments on a Facebook page?
I felt sick because I knew it could only get worse.. I checked out his main photo and it had already been shared 10,250 times, yes that’s right 10,250 times.. I was able to view the shares and I tell you I was sick to my stomach at what people were writing, even when others were pointing out that he wasn’t the killer they were still saying heinous things about his brother, his dead mother, his father.. What gave them the right to do that?
So what else did I witness on Facebook about this today.
The Conspiry Theorists and Gun Lobbyists also rather used this terrible story to further their ideas/causes. Now I actually believe a lot of what the conspiracy theorists come up with but on this occasion many sites were just jumping on the bandwagon. Even though they know very well that initial reports during incidents like this, when there is widespread panic, are at best only touching on what’s really happening. Still they seem to have grasped every bit of initial misinformation and run with it. They have come to the conclusion that it was not the young man who did the killing but that he was set up( some say he was mind-controlled) and it was the government who organised it ( as well as the other recent mass killings ) so they could ” take all the guns away from the people” leaving them easier to control – Governments seem to be doing that easily enough through financial means!
Meanwhile the gun lobby are whipped up into a frenzy because Obama said “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.” I have my own opinion on his genuineness and whether he cries when he thinks of the children killed by American drone bombs,but I won’t go into that now.
I witnessed some defiant gun owner’s videos on Facebook and I tell you the vitriol and downright selfishness beggared belief. I read this “guns don’t kill people, crazy people kill people” time and time again, like some kind of mantra with no acceptance that having so many powerful guns so readily available means it’s easy for people who are mentally unwell to get access to them.
It’s a fact that 8 children/teenagers die from guns every day in America.
Many were calling for teachers to be armed. For those in the Uk like me, who completely don’t get the gun culture in the USA, I’m sure you’ll agree that this is astonishing. Could you imagine your 7-year-old going to school with the teacher carrying a gun, who at the first sign of trouble might start spraying bullets around? Would they have gun training as part of their teacher training? Are you people mad ??
What is sure is that gun sales will spike upwards; it’s been proved they always do after such incidents.
My American followers will probably have heard of Colin Goddard who survived being shot four times at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007 and has campaigned for stricter gun laws since. In the summer of 2009 he visited gun shows across America secretly filming how easy it was to purchase guns, even an AK-47 assault rifle, with no background checks and just walk away with them. Please take the 6 mins to watch his video here (sorry I still haven’t worked out how to embed videos!)
If you are at all like me then I expect this post asks more questions, particularly about the state of human beings moral compass, than it answers.
It also makes me question if I have been right in thinking that ultimately the internet would make the world smaller and more peaceful by sharing the truth. Today I witnessed it exposing the very worst in people and enabling them to share this and whip up others into a frenzy of selfishness, misplaced anger, hatred, gossip, lack of compassion or love and intransigence. In fact all the things that may well have contributed to the mental state of the young man who sadly killed all those in Connecticut yesterday.
Think on that…
I want to end this sad post by saying Happy Birthday to my lovely daughter Katy and by expressing how lucky I feel today to still have both my children.
Addendum My dear blogging friend Scilla ( you can see her comment below) has written her own very healing post please read it here hopefully to make you feel better after reading this one of mine….
An article about Colin Goddard in the Huffington Post from Nov 2009 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-helmke/virginia-tech-survivor-wi_b_362152.html
The Brady Campaign who work for strong gun laws – http://www.bradycampaign.org/
Saturday Girl signing off now. I hope, despite the predictions, I’ll see you next week. I hope you’ll have a peaceful one.
You can find my photography blog Photomania here and I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already