Director's Take

Love image



Dear friend of Downtown,

I have vacillated among many emotions over the past week, not unlike, I assume, most of you. Frustration about another shooting, fear in learning that it was a mass shooting, disbelief that people who are well known in our community lost their lives, anger that someone had chosen their own way out by killing others, and just sadness sadness sadness. For additional loss of life, for yet another mass shooting, for the state our country is in.

At the end of the day, we learned that a young man who was suffering with some form of mental illness had decided to purchase a gun and did so very easily (more easily, might I add, than anyone in this country is able to obtain a driver’s license or certain cold medicine) with the sole intent to kill many people. Why else do you buy an assault rifle? When does it stop?

All of those feelings have turned to helplessness… I don’t understand why assault rifles have become political, or guns at all for that matter. The increasing rate of gun violence is utterly astonishing. But that’s a different blog.

What’s amazing to me, however, despite the lack of legislation, is that the reaction to this horror is to move toward each other, to check in on each other, and to show love in any form that we can. I’ve seen it in news stories, emails, social media posts, and at visitations. Often Seen Rarely Spoken, a local mural and art collective, took it upon themselves to paint the wooden boards covering the broken windows at the site of the shooting with a big heart and the word “LOVE” in Old National’s corporate colors.

As human beings, LOVE drives everything we do – finding a partner, friends, a fulfilling job or hobbies – creating almost every one of our connections in life. Even in shock, grief, and anger, the shared message generously put on those boards is one of compassion and unity. Healthy societies thrive because of the kindness, love, and recognition that we give each other.

But what can we do? I signed petitions and I wrote my legislators. Again. How about, in addition to discussing banning assault rifles, we discuss higher investments in social networks and safety nets that will decrease isolation and anxiety and help identify mental health issues sooner? And pay our teachers more? And raise our minimum wage? And create legislation from a place of LOVE for community?

Something. Anything.

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