I think we, as an American society, like the easy solutions. We gain a sense of comfort and pride in texting HELP to whatever number to donate whatever amount of money or in raising awareness or in sharing inspirational quotes on Facebook. And I am not discounting these acts because those monetary donations are needed and inspirational quotes raise morale and help us to feel united. But if those responses to tragedy are our only responses, they simply won't be enough. Long after the donations stop coming in and the media has moved on to its next sensational story, our neighbors, friends and family will continue to suffer.
We need long-term solutions. Responses that require setting a goal and working each day, each month, each year to make that goal happen. There is a reason that these tragedies happen again and again in this country and until we begin to work towards solutions that impact beyond a month or two, they will continue to happen. A real solution may involve a shift in cultural attitudes and policies and it will definitely involve a high level of commitment from a large group of people.
So while the immediate outpouring of support is a wonderful and natural response, let's not forget these victims and families in the coming months and years. Let's commit to working together. To having those difficult discussions and debates. To being a very real part of a very long term solution. And let's set a date on the calendar for a couple months or a year from now to check back in with ourselves to see what and how we've done, no?
"Pity may represent little more than the impersonal concern
which prompts the mailing of a check,
but true sympathy is the personal concern
which demands the giving of one's soul."
Martin Luther King, Jr.