I have come to the conclusion that the main difference between Conservatives and Liberals is how much fear we decide we are going to live in. Liberals don’t normally hoard guns and ammo, because we aren’t afraid of the world. We all live in the same world, and there are bad things out there to be afraid of. Liberals have just decided that fear is not the thing we are going to focus on and we aren’t going to allow it to control our lives. I’m beginning to think that this applies to all sorts of issues as well. I heard two conservative (white) friends talking today about the fact that in a few years, white people will be the minority. They were terrified of this possibility, while my reaction was “So what?”.
~ Daniel J. Roe, Facebook commenter
JULY 20, 2012 will perhaps be another day that will live in infamy in early 21st-century American history as everyone woke up to the startling reaction of yet another shooting incident—this time in a movie theater in a town called Aurora, Colorado.
As I got out of bed that afternoon, my mom was shocked to see the news reports flash on the TV: “at least 12 dead and another 51 or so injured.” What was even worse after hearing the announcers utter those words was the life story surrounding the alleged gunman, 24-year-old James Holmes.
In the past forty-eight hours, I have been following the stories—and the more I’ve uncovered, the more scary the situation gets. Turns out, Holmes graduated from what-could-have-been-my-alma-mater, the University of California at Riverside in the spring of 2010 with high honors with a B.S. degree in Neuroscience.
Despite my family’s worries and pleas, I am planning to pursue a Neuroscience-related degree perhaps several years down the road as well, since I also love to study the mind, and currently have selected my primary major in Psychology at a local community college I now attend in my time away from Riverside.
But my heart does sincerely go out to my Highlander family down there, as the nation now mourns for the families of the Aurora victims and as this recent tragedy now casts another spotlight on the rise in gun violence and firearm-related crimes.
While browsing my Facebook News Feed on Saturday afternoon, I spot an Internet meme-type picture posted on The Christian Left page (https://www.facebook.com/TheChristianLeft) that sports the label in large block letters “MEANWHILE, IN AMERICA.”
This meme portrays a white American male lying on his bed watching the primetime news broadcasts surrounded by what appears to be an arsenal of guns and ammo. A quick mouse scroll through the comments and I know the debate’s on between those individuals who support stricter gun control laws (such as myself) and those who claim such said laws will inhibit the rights of Americans to freely sport weapons, as established by the Second Amendment.
Coming across a paragraph also quoted in the preamble of this column, I have to say I fully agree with what Mr. Roe here has to say. For many years now, I have absorbed and reflected on the values, beliefs and morals of what many figures have taught me growing up…and the older I am getting, I realize that I continue to lean to Left-wing political views, simply because I cannot agree with what is going on with the GOP and the Tea Party.
Of course, I might as well apologize in advance if I may come across as being hateful of Republicans or something. I do not mean to directly insult or bash any individual who holds to conservative beliefs, for I should know better. I was also spiritually raised as a conservative Christian believer from a young age. But nevertheless, that does not mean I should not be able to think for myself and to be able to express my opinions on the InterWebs either. And so, I do.
I do express my heart, my mind and my soul—in every piece I compose and type. And I am glad my readers are able to see that part of me so genuinely as well.
Back to the matter at hand though, as Jefferson Bethke has stated so firmly in the opening lines—and rings so, so true to my heart—in his viral YouTube video Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus:
What if I told you JESUS came to ABOLISH RELIGION?
What if I told you VOTING REPUBLICAN really wasn’t His Mission?
What if I told you REPUBLICAN doesn’t automatically mean CHRISTIAN, and just because you call some people BLIND doesn’t automatically give you vision?
I mean, if religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?
Why does it build huge churches but fails to feed the poor?
Besides having a catchy, addicting rhyme to Jeff’s poem, I truly believe many non-Christians who troll on videos like these and intend to bash on them either to get a good laugh out of the whole ordeal for doing so or for merely getting attention—they just don’t understand the underlying message of his speech.
He isn’t trying to attack “religion” head-on and calling it bad. He’s saying, “Stop being so legalistic with the church and start being real. Be a real patron of Christ. Show mercy, show love, show compassion…and then say, ‘Hey, it isn’t necessarily me that’s showing you love. It’s Him.’ ”
See I spent my whole life building this facade of neatness,
But now that I know Jesus, I BOAST IN MY WEAKNESS.
Because if grace is water then the Church should be an ocean,
It’s not a museum for good people,
It’s a HOSPITAL FOR THE BROKEN.
What really touched me personally was when Jeff proclaims, “I don’t have to hide my failure. I don’t have to hide my sin.” Something I’ve been doing for my whole life, I’ve often wondered.
Like Severus Snape in the final Harry Potter movie, The Deathly Hallows Part Two, this theme of hidden shame and guilt does not just merely speak to me—it speaks to the whole wide world in its entirety.
And most people perhaps don’t know no matter how objective we all have to be in the business sector—no matter how many times you have to don a suit and tie and act “professionally”—I for one do believe that there is subjectivity in whatever people discuss. And more importantly, that there is a tragic hero side in all of us.
Pointing back to the Aurora shooting, perhaps most of us will simply remember the events being reported as the passing of grief—and for the families of the victims, an unfortunate deeply imprinted loss—but as the nation is again humbled in such a critical time, even President Obama is taking a stand to speak and share some of the pain, putting aside some of the heat he is still getting from the Right-wing and Romney’s campaigning.
Politics or not, we must not live in fear as Daniel Roe writes. Although we are aware of societal harm and the possible mass hysteria that could arise because of our fears of the unknown, I too realize we as a people must continue to push on through. Persevering and achieving. And while the general public may not completely begin to comprehend the inner workings in the mind of Mr. Holmes and what motivated him to dye his hair red, wear full body armor and open-fire into a crowded and packed movie theater, one thing we do know: Out of every tragedy we emerge stronger than before.