How did we get here? How did we become so disconnected to humanity - to one another?
This morning @Igorvolsky, Deputy Director of Guns Down America, tweeted, “Today is the 275th day of 2017. We’ve had 273 mass shootings so far.”
If you’re not impacted by that statement, maybe you should read it again.
Last night, 50 lives were taken in Las Vegas at a country concert. An evening that headliner, Jason Aldean says, “...should have been a night of fun.” And that’s what’s so scary about all of this. We never know where or when a maniac with a gun will decide to play God and take precious lives.
That’s right, precious.
Every life matters, yet somehow this simple truth has become a distant reality. Instead, our “reality” is blanketed with 275 mass shootings, over 11k deaths, in just 9 months.
This pit in my stomach is all too familiar. Last year, when my ‘city beautiful’ suffered through the Pulse mass shooting, everyone stood up for, and together with, the LGBTQ community. We compassionately protested this evil act of hate, and people from all over the world took to social media to show their solidarity.
Last night’s shooting, although not targeted at a specific sexual orientation, race, or any distinct demographic for that matter, is evidence that we have an abominable epidemic rising in our world. Not only are we living in divided times, we are living in a disconnected society where lives are no longer valued and therefore, disposable.
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet Grace Nelson, Sen. Bill Nelson’s wife, and hear her speak about a visit to Rwanda that changed her life. As she gave us a brief history lesson on the genocide that happened in the late 1990’s, she also shared a conversation she had with one of the country’s leaders during her trip. She asked him, “How do you think this happened, how did it get to this point?”
His response, “Hate and violence were fueled, people were encouraged to turn on one another…”
As I listened to this story, tears welled up in my eyes and chills ran throughout my entire body. The violence that was perpetuated in that country, which ultimately led to 800,000 deaths in 100 days, felt reminiscent of the direction we’re headed in this country.
There is only one way to resolve the widespread violence occurring in our world today: we must reconnect.
Brene’ Brown (my mentor and friend - although she doesn’t know it yet, haha) gave the opening keynote at Hubspot’s conference, Inbound, last week and she posed a phenomenal question at the end of her talk. She simply asked, “What side of humanity are you on?”
While I wish I could share a video or snippet of her inspirational message on the solution we need to immediately employ, here’s the next best thing, her recent interview with Forbes on Why Human Connection Will Bring Us Closer Together. (THIS IS A MUST READ!)
We can’t change what’s happened, but we can choose how we respond.
Right now, it’s up to each and every one of us to intentionally lean in and reconnect. Although this isn’t an immediate quick fix, it is undoubtedly the remedy to shift our world from hateful, violent, desensitized behavior, and in turn stimulate a movement of compassion, empathy, and kindness.
So, “what side of humanity are you on?”