This (and the next) blog post is going to be dealing with some very sensitive, topics. It is not my intention to hurt feelings so I ask you to please read on with an open mind and a kind heart, and if you choose to comment, keep it civil and keep it clean. I won't post comments that I feel are hurtful or inappropriate.
It has been nearly a month since the shooting in Aurora, CO, as well as the Chick-Fil-A statement and the back lash that came after it, but I have a lot to say and I wanted to say it well.
First, I would like to express my sympathy to the survivors who were hurt and those who were killed in the Aurora, CO shooting and their families. I hesitate to call them victims, because I feel that carries a defeatist mentality, and that is not my position to impose that on someone. You get to choose how you react to things, and so far I think that there has been a really positive reaction to an obviously terrible situation. Bravo! I would also like to commend those who are choosing to not glorify the shooter by saying his name. He doesn't deserve to have the celebrity status, and I will not be dignifying him with the use of his name either.
I would also like to take this moment to express my sympathy for the family of the shooter. By all accounts, they seem to be normal people who do their best to be good people, raise good children, and contribute to society. His father is the manager of a software company and his mother is a nurse. They did their best to raise him in a good environment and give him the best that they could. Now they are living any parent's nightmare. They didn't choose to do something terrible. In all reality, they probably didn't have any idea that he was going to do what he did, so there was truly nothing that they could have done to prevent it. Now, in essence, they are being blamed for "not doing enough" and "how could they have allowed this to happen!?" How do we think they could have stopped their ADULT son who didn't live with them? He didn't even live in the same state as they do! These are decent people who did nothing wrong, but became instant villains and who have lost their son in the same moment. Grieving parents who are being blamed for aiding a horrific crime that they didn't know would happen. I'm sure they were just as shocked and horrified (if not more so) than the rest of us.
I have read reports from the families of the Columbine shooters as well as those from families of serial killers and it's almost equally difficult for them to cope with the situation as it is for the families of those who were hurt. They want to say how incredibly sorry they are for the things their family member has done, but they don't know how to do it because people automatically hate them for being related to the person in question. They want to see that justice comes to the people who were wronged, but they know that no amount of "justice" will ever bring back the loved one who is gone, or the person who won't ever be able to have a normal life again. Yet, in many of these situations, they don't hate their loved one. Of course they hate the terrible thing that they did, but not the person. To the families, they are still sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, etc. So how can we be so hard on them for standing by their loved one? I don't think I could abandon the people I loved in that situation. I can't even imagine how much they must be hurting and I seriously doubt if they will ever be listed on any survivors list.
As a member of the costuming community, I am saddened by the shooting not only because it's a horrible event, but because of the blame that is being given to those who participate in these events. I am part of a group called HEROIC Inc made up of people who dress in costumes of super heroes, villains, princesses, etc. and attend charity events and promotional events to entertain and to make people (especially children) happy. I have only been involved with them for a short time, but I have been able to meet some of the most incredible, giving people I know. They do these events with no compensation, they pay for all of their own costumes, and they give their time (lots of their time in some cases) to raise money for charity and just to make people happy. They do promotional things as well, where costuming and playing the character is something that they do for their (and other's) enjoyment. As far as any reports that I have seen have said, the shooter is not and has never been a member of the cosplay (costume player) community, so it is quite unfair to blame us (them) for the shootings.
As a member of the human community, I think this is an absolutely vital moment to not let fear and hate win. We must not allow one person to control us! I don't mean it is something that we ignore. Heavens no, but if we let his actions propel us into a state of fear and if we let that fear change how we live our lives, then we let him win. We ALLOW him to take that control of us. I know that I personally, will not stand for that! I will not let my life be changed by someone's actions! I choose to make the world a better place by not allowing the terrible actions of others to dictate how the world works.