Last night, while working at The Domain here in Austin, Texas, we were put on lockdown due to notification of an active shooter being on site. We didn’t know where the individual was at first, but we were alerted and so our managers started implementing their safety protocol. I was calm, but I could feel the energy of those around me start to influence me. I could feel a sense of rising nervousness within me. So I got permission to go sit in the break room. My instincts knew there was nothing to worry about, all put in place was in precaution, but I still wanted to be mindful. I also wanted to recenter my energy. It didn’t help that I had a minor headache. After spending some time around my coworkers, I was still feeling a bit uneasy and decided to sit for a moment by myself in the back. I asked my guides if the situation would benefit from me spending that time in silence and sending out good energy, and I got a “yes.” Not to say that I had anything to do with it, but it was a great coincidence that within minutes of me sitting in silence and calming myself down, police had alerted our manager that the situation was resolved and we could continue working.
I was very grateful to hear that things were settled. I don’t know the full scope of the situation, I hope no one got hurt, but hearing the situation was cleared gave me relief and felt like things overall had eased. I hope the same can be said about the people and areas directly involved.
Thoughts the Morning After
So it got me thinking. After all, one of my selves is a deep thinker and philosopher and I’m always looking for meaning and understanding in events that occur. I don’t know if my conclusions are accurate on a grand scale, below is simply a stream of consciousness aimed to understand, but I appreciate the wheels turning in my mind and do wonder if my thoughts hold any merit in this particular situation.
I was having my morning coffee when I started vocalizing what I thought could possibly cause active shooter situations in a big picture sense. I thought about the shooting at Pulse, a few years ago, an event I was within miles of. I thought about the recent shootings that have been happening at schools, one of the latest being here, in Uvalde, Texas. The one last night, though I don’t know the full details or result of it, took place in a mall. These events took place in buildings that represent very specific ideals. Pulse was a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, a space of self-expression and enjoyment. Schools house children and teachers, they are a place of education, a place of learning. Perhaps these events taking place at these specific locations have no true logic, or I may be ignorant to some other issues taking place, but they did bring up some questions in my mind that I would like to share. Perhaps these thoughts and questions could contribute to a greater understanding or more positive forward progression.
Pulse, the Gay Community
To start, in reflecting on the shooting that occurred at Pulse, prior to the event and even still to this day, how often were individuals of the LGBT (now known as the LGBTQQIP2SAA) community criticized? There are certainly safe spaces for them, but how many items in the news, even regarding sports, have the general population questioning these individuals, in one way or another? Many of those that are a part of the community are defending themselves and sharing political views on a regular basis. I see it across social media platforms in many of my friends’ posts. Their identities have become a primary focus of their communication online. The rest of the population reacts, sharing their own views on the subject either in support of or against. Either way, it’s a conversation. Not everyone engages, but I do see it a lot. I don’t know exactly how things were prior to the shooting, but it seemed that, for a while shortly after, so many were aiding the community and showing their support. On a national sense, we seemed to be showing signs of more compassion towards each other. More awareness seemed to arise, allowing the general population to learn even more about the community. There was an air of inclusiveness, of togetherness. This is something typical that I see happening after major tragic events. A shooting brought awareness towards a place and group of people that evidently needed our love and attention, but is that still the case? Are we still approaching the situation with love and compassion, or are we reverting back to fighting each other and causing, simply, an evolved form of division among people?
Schools, Education and Learning
I then started thinking about the many school shootings that have taken place over the years. Whenever they happen, a lot of coverage goes into how schools could better prepare for a similar situation should one arise in the future. I then see people complaining that they want to be a teacher and now they have to worry about a potential shooting taking place. Parents also begin to worry and hesitate sending their children to school. All of these reactions are completely understandable. But then something occurred to me, how many times have I heard people bashing the school system, bashing the very institution they are choosing to work for or, mainly, the one they’re sending their children to? Questioning what one learns is a part of gaining wisdom and perspective, but is it healthy questioning what people are doing or just complaining? What good is it to complain about the school system one’s child is a part of if one sends them there anyway? Options may be limited for many people, I’m not ignorant to that, but my focus here is the complaining. It happens a lot and is that the best course of action? On a larger scale, it seems the school system is being adjusted as years go on and more information comes to light. Having been a teacher myself, I’ve seen some states here in the U.S. take the time to revise the curriculum. All people involved are professionals in their field working together to make something happen. Yes, politics is involved and people in office make final decisions, but it is a team effort. That’s what I’m interpreting. Yet, people still complain about the school system. Are they unaware of the changes trying to take place? Or are they really complaining about something else and that energy is being directed at schools? The same could be asked about the above regarding Pulse and the gay community.
I understand people’s motives for complaining. I vent myself, I’m doing it here in writing. And our voices are tools that drive change. But when does complaining turn into positive action? The way I see it, when reflecting on tragic events that have taken place, they appear to be a mirror of our collective feelings about a certain group of people or ideal. There are many factors that go into play in any event that happens on any given day, down to the specific people involved. But let’s take the big picture view and look at what could be happening and what that reflects about our collective feelings and thoughts. Thoughts and words manifest, on both a small and grand scale. So, perhaps then, we should be more aware of what we are doing. It’s not to say that we need to be afraid of sharing our views about something, but there are many ways to reflect on a topic and then contribute to it. All I’m saying is, these events have shown me that, though we all could use it, there seem to be specific people and institutions that need our attention. So, what are we going to do about it? Are we going to continue to direct our energies toward these institutions with underlying negative influences and intentions, dividing us further, or are we going to be more mindful and see things in a more positive light?
None of the above is to criticize the general population or condone the individuals responsible for such tragic events. I know professionals have been working and the general population reflecting, all simply aiming to understand the causes of these tragic events. The actions of the individuals directly responsible for such events is another topic entirely to reflect on. And, ultimately, we’re all on this earth together and I truly believe we’re doing our best with what we are aware of at any given moment. The stream of consciousness above is merely what came to me, my own reflections aimed at understanding what could be happening on a larger scale and bringing to mind underlying causes that go beyond one person. After all, we are all connected and I believe we are here to evolve as individuals by relating to each other. So it’s inevitable that I should wish to understand what’s going on and what can we learn from this. It might be naive, but too much has happened, even in my own life, to not wonder. How can we better move forward from this?