From Tragedy to Propaganda: A Call to Grieve for a Florida High School

The horrific events that unfolded in Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this week need not be repeated here. Most people already know what took place. Many are in shock, others are infuriated, and worse, some families are without their loved ones today. Such events stir up emotions that induce fierce condemnation, although that condemnation is not always aimed in the direction we expect.
As details materialized, opinions, judgments, and conclusions were already made. Before understanding what had taken place, I was bombarded by posts from media and social media as the Florida shooting morphed from a tragic event to propaganda. Some blamed Republicans while others blamed Democrats. Those supporting gun control utilized it as proof of their position, while those posited on the opposite side claimed it was evidence for their own views. Such a quick response is a misuse of both our intellect and heart.
Rarely do such quick responses yield the results that people want. Without having the full threshold of information necessary for such judgments and conclusions, the arguments usually founder because they lack the facts and information necessary to rightly interpret the events. Furthermore, the author of such a reactive analysis appears temperamental and impulsive, lacking the ability to temper emotion with rationality. Thus, responding quickly is counterproductive to one’s intentions and creates some issues.
Quick reactions, without the necessary information to interpret events generates three significance repercussions that are often left unconsidered, including the following:
  • Maximizes Falsehood: First, because the response is based more on emotional appeal and less on facts, it has the propensity to propagate falsehood.
  • Minimizes Grief: Second, the quick reaction does not permit one to expel their grief that such an event generates because it has become a requirement to respond to the ‘political’ aspect of such events.
  • Produces Desensitization: Finally, by removing the opportunity to appropriately grieve, people are not forced to confront the serious nature of not just the event, but the loss of life.
It seems that when any major event happens, especially those that involve the intentional killing of humans, the attention is quickly appropriated from the heartbreak that we should experience at such unnecessary deaths and directed towards whatever machination of political agenda is the theme of the day.
Therefore, this is a call to grieve, to allow the severity of the events to resonate in the mind and provoke the heart. I am sure that some could accuse me of doing the same, suggesting that by merely writing about an event in this manner I also am politicizing it to promote my own agenda. Perhaps it appears that way, but my agenda is not for my own personal gain, but one that desires to see a nation, and especially those with connections to the events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, grieve. If we cannot grieve together, we cannot accomplish anything together.
There is no doubt that it was a great tragedy. There is no doubt that such an event exhibits the fallenness of our world. Finally, there is no doubt that it exposes society’s great need for God. However, until an appropriate level of grief is permitted in our society, we will neither recognize our own needs or God’s solution.