As more details emerge from last night's horrific shooting in Aurora, Colorado we'll try to make sense of what happened.
But we won't be able to.
How do you even begin to make sense of the nonsensical?
In the impending days to follow we'll attribute blame and we'll each take our own personal precautions. We'll do this because we're all in a state of acute trauma. Why did this happen? Did they see it coming? How could it have been prevented? What can be done to safeguard this from occurring again? Can it happen to me or someone I love?
Security measures will be put in place in public forums and laws will be reassessed. These and similar security mandates will be addressed with keener focus in the wake of this terror. Yet we can't change gun laws overnight and if someone is motivated enough (and persistent and patient enough) will a law ultimately prevent him from striking?
This is a larger debate that has been waged on many discourses so I won't get into it here, but what is important and critical to ask ourselves is how we can react to this tragedy right now. In the immediate aftermath of this nightmare how can we have an immediate impact?
We can mourn. We can remember the lives of those lost and celebrate their humanity. We can take a moment to reflect on our own lives. We can hold a loved one tight.
If violence is an element of the storyline, the broader narrative needs equal weighting: the battle between good and evil. As our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims and as we begin the healing process, perhaps we can all find solace in knowing that although evil persisted last night, it was a minority. The majority of us are good. The overwhelming good in the world is weeping alongside those who lost loved ones and were hurt last night.
Fear is powerful. It can consume us if we let it. The unknown breeds uncertainty and uneasiness, but against this fierce opponent we're not unarmed ourselves. We have courage and conviction and belief in the goodness that resides within our larger society.
We have to go outside tomorrow because of the very fact that the horror that happened last night was nonsensical.
As one of my favorite inspirational quotes instructs: "May wisdom guide you, and hope sustain you."