I don’t care who you are. I don’t care on what side of the political spectrum you stand. I don’t care about what network you utilize. Anyone of you who has ever spouted hate or misconceptions is partly at fault for this tragedy in Arizona. Sure, I realize you didn’t pull the trigger. You weren’t even there. Or wait, maybe you were. Maybe you attended in the thoughts of an unstable individual who after listening to such poisonous rhetoric couldn’t discern reality from fiction.
See, normally in the wake of such horrible news we shed our fear and disagreements only to identify which each other on a human level. We take care of each other. Yet there is small contingent of the populace that does not want to lay down their anger and fear of the other side. They’d rather spout more hate and confusion.
I am also not saying you are directly responsible for those thoughts and feelings, but take in mind that like any hunger, fear needs fuel to grow. Anger needs sustenance. You need to realize that because of your position, you help guide the feelings of this nation. My plea to you is that you start utilizing this immense power to start feeding hope.
If you are a voice of this nation in the media, politics, or talk show host, you need to think. If you know that people will follow you to the ends of the Earth, then I beg you to plead calm and reasoning. Evoke change in our systems through healthy debate and discourse. Challenging your readers/viewers/listeners to fight intolerantly instead of using their brains to solve problems sets the lowest common denominator back down to Neanderthal. We are better than this as a people, as a nation, as individuals. You are better than this in guiding us with your words.
It’s time to start showing it.
Update: I had an interesting conversation with a friend about personal responsibility. While I am a strong advocate for that principle, I think it applies to everyone. For instance, I agree that stating the shooter was responsible for his actions. But I also would agree that people who have a world stage unto which they spout hatred and inflammatory statements are responsible for those words and how they are consumed.