Blogging and tweeting about tragedy

Last week, I was enjoying some moments of fun on my blog and on Twitter. I got a few new followers. Friday morning, I posted the usual: blog post, stupid quip, song news. And then I read the news about the shooting in Connecticut.

My Twitter feed lit up as all of ours did in shock, horror, outrage, sadness, disbelief, and… politics. One of the overwhelming themes of the day from certain people I follow was “if this isn’t the right time to discuss gun control, then when is?” It was meant to be rhetorical but let me give my answer: any other time.

I watched the same thing happen with Hurricane Sandy but with the school shooting, it was just too much to bear. Tragedy is no time for politics, in my mind. I didn’t log back into Twitter until late that night.

We all respond to tragedy in different ways. I want my response to be compassion. It isn’t always. I have to train myself to have that response. It’s often hard to feel compassion when I’m just reading anger.

There were two reasons why I thought Friday wasn’t the right time to have a political discussion:

1) It’s divisive and distracting. I was seeing tweets on different sides of the issue and I didn’t think any were appropriate. Someone tweeted at the comedian Jim Gaffigan and said “make us feel better” to which he responded, “We shouldn’t feel better.” That summed it up for me. We’re supposed to be in the moment and feel bad.

2) We don’t formulate our ethics in a lifeboat. In an emergency, we survive, we give aid, we feel compassion, we get out of the emergency. Once we’re out of the crisis, then we discuss how to minimize the next one. Let Newtown mourn. Then let’s discuss.

I’ve wanted to return to normal blogging and tweeting but nothing’s felt right since Friday. I decided I should try to write down my thoughts on this and see if that helps get back to normal.

I retweeted this on Friday:

In that spirit, my friends The Fallen Stars are donating all proceeds from their Christmas song “The Lights” to the Newtown Youth and Family Services. And my friend Holly wrote a song about the tragedy.

Be good.