Huffpost Impact
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Janine Francolini Headshot

Do We Have Any Other Choice?

Posted: Updated:

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." Martin Luther King Jr.

As we mourn the loss of the innocent victims in Colorado, is it possible that we can expand our collective broken hearts to include compassion for suspect James Holmes and all human beings who could possibly be suffering from brain disorders? Maybe the more important question is do we have any other choice? This may seem counterintuitive, but hatred and annihilation of this man who was reported to be seeing a psychiatrist are key factors in perpetuating the cycle of violence in our country.

We have learned from history that meeting violence with violence doesn't move us forward. When these tragedies strike, our knee jerk response is to focus on gun control rather than our health care crisis, on punishment in the name of justice aided by sensationalized media that perpetuates violence and re-traumatizes us all. If we aren't lashing out at the offender, we shut down and hold our breath until the painful, terrifying memories start to fade. It is in this numb state that we take no action and disconnect from our own humanity through our prejudice and silence.

In our work at the Flawless Foundation, we live and breathe this reality every day and, along with the grief, we are fueled by love and hope. Yes, there is hope! It's time to come together and channel our outrage to stop this cycle once and for all.

The call to action involves three key tenets: prevention, the end of discrimination and a cure for people with brain disorders. We are fortunate in being able to see prevention in action over and over again. For example, when one of our yoga teachers can care for and see the light in a young boy who is in crisis and spends part of each day being physically restrained due to behavior that is dangerous. Hope is evident when he tells her that yoga calms him down and that he feels that she is his best friend. We see powerful healing again when we receive an email from a parent of a child who is considered to be in the "school to prison pipeline" saying that things were immediately better at home after they completed a training that we funded in the revolutionary therapeutic work of Dr. Stuart Ablon at http://thinkkids.org. On the fourth of July, I wrote a blog post which described an inspiring time practicing yoga and creating art with a group of teen girls in a juvenile detention center. The elixir of love, peace and healing that I witnessed in that correctional facility was the promise of prevention at its finest.

There was even a ray of hope this week when it came to the way James Holmes that was depicted in the media. Rampant headlines such as "Psychokiller," "Sicko" and "Kill Him" were the scariest horror movies of all. It's baffling because, on principle, it seems that most people would agree that the golden rule of treating others as one would like to be treated is a good maxim to live by. After being inundated with these dehumanizing words of hatred, it was a relief to see "Shooter forgiveness" as a top news story on Yahoo. Yes, shortly after the tragedy, one of the victims made a statement that he forgave James Holmes and prayed for his healing. This inspiring and enlightened man encouraged us all to do the same. Can we practice this level of radical forgiveness?

One of the most promising and brightest lights of all is in the monumental work of Garen Staglin and Patrick Kennedy at http://onemind4research.org. They are consolidating world resources and raising funds to find the cure for brain disorders in this decade. Their noble vision is that mankind experiences freedom from brain disease which would save billions and billions of dollars on healthcare, the correctional system and education not to mention the devastating cost to human suffering.

As we grieve as a nation, let's take solace in the hope of prevention, ending discrimination and finding a cure. Join us in our Flawless stand to take action for healing through love and compassion. Do we have any other choice?