Pages Navigation Menu

Life and Times of a Working Cowgirl

The Outliers

It’s taken me a while to write about the tragedy in Aurora. I didn’t want to add to the media frenzy that so often surrounds these events but I didn’t feel remaining silent was an option. First and foremost I want to extend my condolences to everyone who has suffered as a result of this tragedy. I am truly saddened at the thought of the pain this has caused and will continue to cause innocent people. Like most Americans the only thing I can offer is love and support, but of that I give freely and completely. Second, to the family of the person responsible, I can not image the pain you are enduring and I am equally saddened by that.

The talking heads have all weighed in with their opinons and scientific data on why we should have more guns, no guns, more security, no security and a hundred other useless or obvious observations that have in no way helped the anyone heal from this horrible event. I don’t understand why as a nation we seem so unable or unwilling to just grieve. Why can’t we accept that sometimes terrible things happen, innocent people die and our job a s a society in that moment, is not to analyze, our job is to support, to make potato salad, to hug, to cry, to grieve to remind those who are suffering so much that for the most part humanity is good. After we’ve seen to the needs of our victims, after we’ve buried our dead, after we have come together as a community and wrapped the victims in love, then we can analyze.

Since the beginning of time humanity has had outliers. Humans who, for whatever reason do not adhere to the unwritten social contract that binds all human societies. This social contract allows us to sit in a dark theater with complete strangers, attend sporting and religious events, travel on packed trains and busses, all without fear. The rule of law establishes penalties for breaking our social contract but without the majority of humanity complying willingly, our civilizations would collapse. The outliers, the small percentage of every society that refuses or simply cannot adhere to the social contract are not affected by the rule of law. We can’t adjudicate these outliers into compliance, we can’t predict or prevent their behavior, and we can’t give up our freedoms or our faith in humanity every time one of them acts out against humanity.

There are 7 billion people on earth, of them 19 committed the acts of September 11, 2001 killing nearly 3,000 innocent people; last year a lone gunman from Norway killed 77 people; before that a lone gunman killed 13 at Fort Hood. I am not in any way trying to diminish the heinousness of these acts, I just want to point out that, even though it may be all we hear or read about for weeks, and all of these events have left scars on our collective psyche, they are incredibly rare. They are the acts of a minuscule part of the world population and designed to incite fear, unrealistic fear of our fellow humans. I for one refuse to believe we need to resort to living our lives in fear of our lowest common denominator. I believe my fellow humans are good, kind, honest, thoughtful and helpful and I believe that because I live in a functioning civil society. I am not afraid nor will I allow anyone to convince me I should be. Metal detectors , TSA agents, gun laws, politicians and police aren’t what keep me safe. Changing laws will never prevent the outliers from acts of terrorism. Looking for, promoting and practicing respect towards our fellow humans is the only hope we have of preventing these tragedies and the only solace we have to offer each other when another lone gunman strikes.

One Comment

  1. Well said. I concur. Thank you.

    Evil has been around for a long time and will never go away. Nothing will change that but at least it rears its ugly head very rarely. We should grieve for those affected but we also need to contiue to live our lives in the most positive, constructive and (hopefully) happy way possible.