Cydney Baron

During the chaos of shots being fired and people running for safety, someone shouted a question at the shooter: "Why are you doing this?"

"Because I'm really angry," Santino Legan is said to have answered.

When it feels like mass shootings are hitting the news cycle every day it would be easy to dismiss instances like this.

Gilroy, California is nothing like Claremore, Oklahoma, we tell ourselves.

And when they found white supremacist material in the shooter's writings we dismiss it again, telling ourselves: Racism isn't an issue in rural Oklahoma.

Logically, we all know these tragedies can happen anywhere, that the community of Gilroy probably said the same things. But that doesn't stop us from holding to the belief that it will never happen to us.

We read statistics that tell us "...41% of Americans fear random mass shootings." (USA Today). We're told, "…there is one mass shooting per day in the United States, if you define them as four or more people shot." (Louis Klarevas, research professor at Colombia University.)

Still, it doesn't seem like a reality that could ever apply to us.

This dichotomy—this simultaneous believing and unbelieving—breeds confusion and anger.

Sadly, this shooting was not the only one in headlines this week. While the country is processing the details of all of these tragedies, presidential candidates were tackling issues like racism which, at it's core, is simply anger and hatred.

And it seems, all at once, that this anger and hatred is the course our country is charting. Every news cycle we see it play out in some way. Hate crimes. Allegations of racism. Shootings and violent attacks. Repeat.

The left hand blames the right, and vice versa. We blame the gun and we blame the gunman. We blame social media and mental health and, sometimes, the folks who should have seen it coming. We blame policy and regulation—then the lack thereof.

"Because I'm really angry."

Why aren't we blaming the culprit—anger.

I make no endorsements but, a statement made by presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, seems to be the antidote to the current state of things.

In a recent podcast interview Williamson was asked what harnessing love for political purposes looks like:

"It's not mysterious at all. If you see a hungry child, you feed them. If you see an uneducated child, you teach them. If you see a poor person struggling, you help them…you help people thrive."

She went on to say, "Love one another. We are on this earth to love one another, that is the only survivable path for the 21st century. Love one another is not only a statement of the goal, it's the guidance system for achieving the goal."

Love one another. We've heard it before.

"And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" -John 13:34.

"Come on people now/Smile on your bother/everybody get together/ try to love one another right now."- "Get Together" The Youngbloods.

"Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that."- Michael Leunig, cartoonist, poet and author.

Hatred, racism, division and violence may be trending in America, but that doesn't mean we can't course correct. We don't have to accept the narrative we're being told.

Someone recently told me, "We must be careful of the stories we tell ourselves, for they are who we become."

In that case, let's tell stories of loving one another.

Cydney Baron is the editor of the Claremore Progress.

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