(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

Remember when we didn’t expect mass killings in public places? Seems so long ago anymore when we thought everyday living was fairly safe from random homicidal rampages. What’s up with our country? Why do so many people these days choose to use their brand of darkness to take the light from others?

I went to bed late last night, after talking too long with my daughter, who had gone away on a trip, but woke up extra early, nonetheless. And to find out what? That with great planning, some thug on the other side of our metropolitan area had chosen to use his theatrics to teach late night movie-goers what a dark night is in real life?

What is the purpose of that?

You know, I watched the TV when the Oklahoma City bombings happened and then a few years later when the Columbine shootings occurred. Somehow I felt I might understand if I watched and listened, but I never did.

Ever since then I have pretty much stuck to reading my news—hardly turned on the TV after 9/11, even though my 4th-grade-aged kids were forced to watch the news at school all that very long day.

Can’t watch anymore—I’m way too visual. The pictures get stuck in my head—I’ll never forget the dream I had a couple months after Columbine. My family and I got trapped together with a large group of other people as the killers meandered around deciding whom to kill and whom to spare. The killer pointed at me, a white heat spreading throughout my body, before walking off. I woke up in a sweat—could have sworn it was me under those tables in the Columbine library. The image still has power over me.

I don’t want to see the smiling photos, read the bios, smell the rotting flowers, etc. again—not because the people killed and wounded don’t matter, but because they matter too much. We all do.

I don’t know how to prevent these things anymore than the next person, but if we were all a little kinder in our dealings with others, might fewer people find it so easy to let their hatred fester into violence?

I like to think about that expression: Be kinder than necessary as everyone you meet is battling something.

Our world is too dark—who knows how to change it, except through one kindness at a time.