Today was heartbreaking. There is a lot to talk about, and a lot to do. But as a parent, things like this just stop you in your tracks. I don’t think it’s possible to really understand what the families of the victims are going through. The thought of it is shattering. “Empty gestures and meaningless platitudes” is a very cynical way of seeing it: what happened today, like what happened in Aurora, makes us feel helpless and scared. Anticipating each new drip of information just intensifies this sensation. Everything feels very close, very immediate. We are watching in horror and reacting publicly gives us a sense of control. Something happened; you responded. It’s like extending a hand when a baseball comes hurtling at your head. A digital reflex.
I do not think that this is a bad thing. Empty and meaningless, no, not so much. To observe this event and ignore it is irrational — online is where a lot of us put our feelings, even the private ones, so why should an epic tragedy be placed in a secret cache when 9,360 other things are logged from a device and sent out to socialize in our feeds? Signing petitions, sending good thoughts, hugging your children, recognizing the importance of acting on gun reform and attaining a heightened awareness of mental health in our country — you’re telling me that these things are trite compared to statements like “Homeland is GARBAGE”? Sorry that the world is so enormous, and sometimes so cruel. Suck it up and let people feel the pain of that the way they choose to.