Many of my beliefs have changed as I've aged, but all of my life I've clung to the idea that people are inherently good. Even when they do terrible things, their inner soul must certainly still have some good that simply was overrun by something terrible. I've never been able to grasp that someone could be 100 percent evil. It's getting harder to abide by that belief.
The Connecticut shooting yesterday, the Colorado movie shooting a few months ago (just a few miles from my daughter's school), countless other senseless shootings this past year. Each tragedy filled me with a vigilante rage that I am not comfortable with. And with each horrible event, it has gotten harder to reconcile the awful things happening in this world with a faith in the overarching good of human nature.
A friend posted the following quote from Fred Rodgers on Facebook yesterday. It is from the “The Mister Rogers Parenting Book,” published in 2003.
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."
As a child I thought Mr. Rodgers was one of the wisest people on Earth. I have read and reread this quote over the last 24 hours, trying to find comfort in his words. I have nothing but awe and respect for the helpers there on Friday. They give me hope that Mr. Rodgers was right, hope that the helpers still outnumber the bad guys, hope that even in this crazy f@%ked up world, most people are still inherently good.
My heart aches for the families who have endured these tragedies—and who will continue to suffer long after the rest of us have tucked these events away as memories we never want to think of again. We tuck them away not because we no longer care but because we know that somehow we got lucky and you did not. Unlike you who can never forget, we desperately try because we cannot bear to think of the pain you suffer. We try because we feel both guilt and profound thankfulness that our children are still with us. We try because the thought that luck determines the outcomes of these random events scares the shit out of us.