On Saturday, some wanker walked into a nightclub in Orlando and killed 50 people with a rifle, injuring many others. It was an act of hate against the LGBTQ community and a disgusting act of violence and terror. People were understandably shocked and deeply affected by the news.
I was planning on leaving that paragraph there. But on Thursday, another dickhead shot and killed Jo Cox, a MP and a mum in Yorkshire. It was a sickening, shocking attack on democracy that is all the worse for being completely unexpected. She was a mother with two young children and the attack on her was senseless.
Leaving the politics aside, both attacks are horrific acts of violence fueled by hatred. No matter what the cause, these unprovoked attacks on other human beings are utterly reprehensible and completely lacking in empathy.
It would be easy in the wake of such awful news to start shouting back. Look for scapegoats and start blaming the left, the right, the immigrants, the system, etc, etc. To be scared and think the whole world is going to shit. Sure, a lot of people will react that way. But at times like these, it is worth remembering that the majority of people are decent, kind and do not hate. Society would not be able to function if they did. There is love all around us in the smallest of gestures. It is a much stronger force than hate.
After the Orlando shooting, thousands of people gave blood to aid the victims. There were mass vigils in several cities, including a massive one in London. Watch the video at the top of that page. I found it incredibly moving and powerful. The streets were full of people uniting together in solidarity with people they have never met. What is this but an act of love? In every tragedy, the amount of people willing to help and willing to stand up to the hatred far outweighs the lone psychopaths of this world. They seek to spread the hatred and we will not let them. Thousands will stand on the side of love.
It’s too soon to say in the Jo Cox case what the reaction will be. But I know we are strong and we will overcome hatred. Look again at that Orlando vigil photo. Together, love can be an unstoppable force. The problem is that love is shy. It’s hard to stand up for what is right, but it is worth it. When people get together and decide not to hate, to ignore our differences and come together, it is far more powerful a message than the hatred that causes murder. We are better than hate. We can speak to those who are different. We can find common ground and we can listen.
The wounds are still raw in both cases. I wasn’t aware of Jo Cox before this tragedy, but reading the news after her shocking death, I came across this quote from a speech she gave to parliament. I think it’s an apt summary:
We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.