The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence, you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that. – Where Do We Go from Here : Chaos or Community? p. 62
On May 2, 2011, on the day of Osama Bin Laden’s death, I visited an inadvertently viral misquotation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s, “Returning hate for hate multiples hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.”
That post to this day continues to generate more views than any other, with the search terms, “Returning hate for hate multiples hate” the most recurrent search term bringing readers here by the hundreds, more than a year later.
This is just a tiny microcosm, I know, of people searching for answers, looking for a way out of the darkness.
But WE are the way out of the darkness. We are the light we’re looking for.
Fred Rogers said his mother told him to “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” They were abundantly visible yesterday, and continue to be, in Connecticut and wherever there is need.
In the debates and arguments that loom in the coming days, that are already taking place – on gun control, on mental health, on security – we have more opportunities to be the helpers, that critical light in the darkness, by refusing to become polarized, so entrenched in the rhetoric of extremes that we’re unable to find our way through mature dialog to real solutions.
You can believe in the Second Amendment without interpreting it to mean guns for everyone without rules for anyone.
You can be in favor of responsible gun ownership, but also in favor of sanity and keeping the world as safe as we possibly can.
You can support reasonable restrictions on guns without being against God and country. – –Sue Carlton, Tampa Bay Times
We must work, he says,to create a society “ where differences are resolved without violence, where the mentally unstable do not have ready access to lethal force, where violence is not glorified...”
Creating a society where violence is not glorified.
To me, that means doing my part to take the high road in difficult and potentially volatile discussions; it means stepping in gently but without moralizing to redirect conflict whenever reasonable and possible; it means speaking up with a different view when I hear young people – and older ones – joking about or glorifying violence; it means taking an active part in discussions in my community and sharing my views with local media over sensational news coverage of important events, and with my congressional representatives with firm insistence that they look beyond personal political gain to the serving the Greater Good to which they are pledged.
Nothing will change unless we, as a people, as a culture, stop being the silent majority for common sense and compassion, and start actively building the safe and sane nation in which we want to live.
Speak loudly, but put down the big stick, and raise your candle higher.