I could post here words sending my best wishes to Paris. Or I could share with you my anger at the attackers.
I could issue prayers toward Paris. Or I could wish for the best for those in Beirut, noting the West’s apparent apathy toward anything outside our immediate geopolitical worldview.
I could remind you that these attacks don’t truly reflect Islam; I could post something noting that maybe religion is to blame for extremist attacks, or maybe it’s not.
I could post something about gun control: perhaps it works, or maybe it doesn’t. Or about politics: perhaps your country’s currently-empowered political party is to blame, or alternatively maybe those saying such things are tactless and over-eager. (And how will—or won’t—this affect next year’s election?)
I could share heartwarming or heartbreaking stories of survivors or security guards, or of the man who brought a piano and played a Lennon song outside the site of one attack.
I could share a note about being careful what you share and who you trust while news is breaking. (In fact I did share this; it seemed like the only useful thing I could contribute.)
These all are reactions we’ve seen on the Internet over the last day. But none of them seemed quite appropriate; no 140-character reaction can quite capture how I’ve felt, and so I’ve been silent.
None of these accurately capture what I’m feeling. Sure, I could agree with some, and I think others are repulsive. But none of this feel appropriate to shout online right now. Each of these is an oversimplified and trivialized, knee-jerk reaction. None of them, broadly, are truly constructive.
I feel lost, I feel sad, I feel helpless. I hate that people can be like this to each other. But I don’t know what I can do or how I can really help.
I wish we lived in a world where people respected and loved each other. I’m reminded again that we don’t. It really sucks.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go from here.
Was written Saturday afternoon, Nov. 14, 2015. I’m @cdzombak on Twitter.