For just one moment, think of someone else

I am truly astounded. I shared a post on Facebook yesterday expressing the horror that can't ever be expressed, when faced with a tragedy such as Norway's. I expected to be sharing that emotion with a good number of facebook friends.

None. Not one. While the death toll mounted, I saw only posts about the weather. And fish. And beer. And song. But none about what was happening across the seas to family after family.

Norway's children were being slaughtered and everyone was silent. Shock? Fear? Ignorance is Bliss?

I don't know. Perhaps Norway is simply not on anyone's radar. It is mine. I had the sheer joy of spending time there during the summer after finishing college. I loved it. A country on the sea, where you could find a sophistication in the downtown Oslo area, and the traditional harbor village on the sea. We travelled there by car ferry, accompanied by a group of Norwegian sailors. Memories that will last a lifetime, and hopefully in time overshadow those of yesterday.

Around Norway families are aching with grief for their children. This is not a tale of a simple terrorist act, one bomb, government building.... it's an awful horror. The movie kind. The story noone ever wants to retell.

And yet. my fb friends, where are your thoughts? I am posting this on google + first, for those few who have joined me there I know will read this and weep. Then I will post on Facebook for those who simply wish this story would go away.

But I post it mostly because several days ago I got into one of those futile arguments about guns. With people I don't know. I don't begrudge the hunter his rifle. I believe our military and police should be well protected and armed to defend. But I don't believe that ordinary citizens should have to live in such fear that we all start arming ourselves. It is not the answer. Gun enthusiasts will tell you it's people who kill people, not guns. True.

But I ask you again. How many children would have died yesterday had the madman carried a knife. This isn't about laws or gun control. It's about a culture of guns and violence. That's what we need to fix. Where young adults are recruited by those obsessed with violence, and taught their ways. Do we prevent it with more weapons? Or education. Intervention. Until we change who we are as a civilization, this will go on. And it's up to each small group of people to make that decision. Who do you want to be now that you're grown up? Someone who teaches violence is the answer? Or someone who understands there are other ways too. Osama Bin Laden got what he deserved. Without question. But preventing someone from aspiring to replace him will take far more courage, intelligence and wit... not more weapons.

To live without weapons is far more courageous. To live in fear is simply unacceptable. Terrorism feeds on fear. And more guns... bigger guns... do not reduce fear. They simply broadcast it.

So today I mourn for Norway and their lost children. It is so incredibly sad. We in Tucson need to realize that what that young man did yesterday is a terrorists dream come true. Don't you think that he knew what happened here? He did. He simply magnified it a thousand fold. Were there others? Quite probably. And we hope they find them all.

In the meantime, shed a tear, or a thousand, for a country that feels as we have. In Oklahoma City. New York. Tucson. We know the devastating effects of homegrown terror. And now let's start fixing that. Use your social networking skills for good, instead of yourself. Instead of clicking on the Walmart Like button, click on the link to donate towards the Somalian relief effort. Terrorism there is ultimately starving their people to death. Click on the American Cancer Society and help create more birthdays.

Last night I did three things on my social network. I checked in at a restaurant. I shared my favorite Monty Python sketch. And I shared my grief. The check-in was the first time I used it. Sharing funny clips is what I love to do. I figure I am sharing smiles. And sharing grief? That was so any of my scandinavian friends could find a bit of comfort if it is exists.

I won't be around on FB too often anymore. It's not for me. I'll check the updates once in a while and play my beloved bejeweled blitz but otherwise, it's on to Google+. The grown-up version of Facebook. And I suppose more fitting for my sensibilities.

If my friends would like to join me there, just need your email. I'll be happy to invite you.

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