Play Dead

One of the stories I’ve heard about the horrific shooting in Charleston SC was that a grandmother told her granddaughter to ‘just play dead,’ hoping that might save the child’s life. According to the report, the child and her grandmother did survive. I’ve spent this morning reading comments on social media, reading links to articles, reading and reading, trying to find something to help me make sense of it all. I’ve come to the same conclusion as before—after Columbine, Newtown, Aurora, etc., etc.—quit trying to make sense of madness. I watched Jon Stewart’s monologue in which he said, “This was not a tornado. This was racist. . .and we still won’t do jack shit.” Wish I had said that. And our President said, “. . .let’s be clear. At some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” Wish I had said that. 

But all I can do right now is feel helpless, sad, and yes, angry. On the MBTI, I’m a big ‘ole T (Thinker), so Feeling is not easy to do sometimes. In an effort to feel connected, I texted a dear friend, who is African American, and said, “What do we do with all this sadness?” Her reply was “Continue to pray. . .” That’s called faith, I think, and the black community seems to continue to find solace there, and as a community of faith, they’re glad to share their source of strength. I also feel like I want to write and write and write. But this is, like the bullets, scattershot. I do believe, however, we will have to “think” our way out of this madness. Think about the people we elect who make policies that keep this gun culture alive; think about how we continue to persecute the persecuted; think about what the phrase, “white supremacy” really means; think about the data that supports the facts that the proliferation of guns increases incidents of gun deaths; think about the collective laissez faire attitude, ‘not my problem.’ And for a moment, think about that little child who had to play dead to save her life. What is she feeling today? And maybe say a prayer.