I feel a little bit like that guy in the Matrix. The one who betrays all of his allies for an illusion. He sits in the restaurant with Agent What’s-his-face and expresses the idea, more or less, that he doesn’t really care that he is living in a world of illusion and lies because they are quite enjoyable illusions and lies.
You see, a month or so ago I cancelled our cable television. And last Thursday, I got in a car accident. I’ve been riding with people and haven’t been keeping up with NPR.
So it came as a shock, yesterday. My kids heard the news about the shooting in Connecticut. I haven’t got any first hand information about this tragedy. No pictures, no voice overs, no news, no information, really.
I know that I would be effected if I had seen that stuff.
And if I had? In some sense, I’d be better informed. I get it that on some level I’d be more qualified to speak about what’s going on. In some sense, I fully own the idea that I’m like the Judas-figure in The Matrix. Wanting to live in denial, a bubble.
And yet… this distance bestows a certain different kind of authority.
From this distance, I am able to see something that I would miss if I was closer to it all.
I see that the pathetic, broken weasel who caused this suffering is utterly insignificant when compared with the forces that have aligned against him.
There are the first responders. And the kids, and adults who were there and faced him. And the parents and loved ones who helped the survivors through the aftermath. There is the wider net of systems that works 99% of the time; I am not minimizing the pain and suffering that this abonimation, this abberation caused.
I am saying that we ought to marvel at heroism in so many different forms. Not just the on-the-spot heroism that occured in Connecticutt at that terrible time. We should also marvel at the unspoken, unreported, often unknown acts of heroism: the child who finds love amid so much hate, the teacher who believes in her kids after being let down time and time again, the aunt who steps up when mom and dad abondon their responsible, the family friend who finds the words of comfort and love even while his own heart pounds with rage and sadness.
I know that people shout that the world is going to Hell in a hand basket. I don’t begrudge them this sentiment. But I actually think the almost-inexplicable thing is that their is goodness. And goodness with a lower-case g, it is rooted in a Source, Goodness with a capital G. I think this connection, this rootedness, is why that broken little creature seems to pathetic when compared with the forces aligned against him, so many people, united in undoing what he has done, aligned in preventing it from happening again.