Stop pretending you know things you can’t possibly know.

Stop blaming gun laws when you have no idea how the shooter obtained his guns. (Now we know, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t very loudly jump to conclusions right from the start.)

Stop telling people not to mention the shooter’s name and condemning those who do as glorifiers of his actions. Facts are important in the effort to learn exactly what happened and why; the identity of the shooter is a fact. Maybe some other potential killer will be spurred to action by the promise of fame and maybe not. We can’t control that, and our actions can’t be driven by the possible thought process of someone who may or may not exist and conceivably might choose to do a terrible thing. It makes no sense to pretend James Holmes isn’t a factor in this.

Stop calling Holmes a “coward” as though you know anything about him beyond the heinous act he committed. This is not about standing up for him – it’s about recognizing that just because we want him to embody every pejorative adjective we can think of, doesn’t mean he actually does. Maybe he is a “coward.” Maybe he is “evil.” Maybe he is “sick.” Maybe he thought it would be fun to kill a dozen people or maybe voices in his head told him to do it or maybe he was imitating something he’d read or maybe he was abused as a child or maybe he had a grudge against the theater owner or maybe he was hoping the police would kill him or maybe or maybe or maybe. Before you start sticking labels on him, wait long enough to find out which labels actually fit. You’re angry or scared or shocked or all of these things, but nobody is helped when you add more uninformed, shouting voices to an already inflamed situation.

Stop publicly psychoanalyzing Holmes. You’re probably not a psychologist/psychiatrist/social worker, but even if you are, you’re still not qualified to analyze this person who you’ve never met and had never even heard of before this morning. Think about his potential motives and the nature of his psyche all you like but don’t present it as fact, or even as informed theory. It’s not.

Stop telling us to treasure every moment. That doesn’t help. It’s not possible to treasure every moment; some moments are spent cleaning shower drains or scratching mosquito bites or performing some other non-treasurable task, and the notion of not wasting a single moment is just a guilt trip disguised as uplifting philosophy.

Stop calling for a suspension of the rule of law just because you’d like to see instant retribution.

Stop demanding we dredge something positive out of this horror. Some things are just terrible, no matter how much we wish that weren’t true. If we want to find something good then we can look at the real positives in our lives and in the world, the mundane ones we don’t even think about because they’re so woven into our personal experience that they’re just part of the fabric now. We have homes, we have hobbies we enjoy, we have enough free time that we can spend some of it reading blogs. Those things are positive. This shooting was not.

Stop telling other people how to feel, because you never, ever have the right to do that. If you want to hate guns or deny Holmes’ name or see him as a coward or try to suss out his motives or treasure every moment of your life or fantasize about killing Holmes or take something positive from this tragedy, go ahead. But stop commanding the rest of us to fall in line with you.

Wait for the facts to come out, because any judgement you make now is uninformed and baseless. Don’t try to silence any of those facts, even if you’d rather not hear them. Have enough respect for your fellow humans to let them process this event – and all others like it – in their own ways, in their own time.

Stop. Just stop.

9 thoughts on “Stop

  1. Thank you, Melissa. (I actually went to your FB page earlier to see if you had any written anything about all of this).

  2. This post is stupid. Guns laws in the USA are obviously DEEPLY flawed. As the guy above me already pointed out, we already know exactly how and when and where this obvious lunatic bought his murder weapons. He walked right into a store and bought them and murdered a dozen people soon after. You’re the only person who is out of touch on all of this.

    • You’re quick to call this post stupid but you missed the whole point of the post.

      Go rant on the other guys post since you both think stricter gun laws will prevent things like this from happening in the future.

    • I don’t totally agree with all of Melissa’s points here, but it’s just plain inappropriate to call her post “stupid” and “out of touch” when she’s expressing her point of view on her own blog.

    • Not big on paying attention, are you? The post is all about not jumping to conclusions or imagining you know stuff when you really don’t. “Obvious lunatic …” we know that NOW, but were you there when he bought the guns? Not defending our lax gun laws here, just pointing out there MAY have been no red flags at all when a perfectly normal-looking and normal-acting guy with no criminal record makes a legal gun purchase. I don’t know either way. And neither do you.

      • Douglas K, now who is jumping to conclusions? You say he “didn’t pay attention,” but clearly he did pay attention to almost 90% of the 2nd sentence (pre-edit). And he embodied the shit out of the opening sentence. How do you know that Douchebag McAssclown (or whatever his name was, it doesn’t deserve an upward scroll) isn’t just the type of person who likes to read the first 2 sentences of an article and then just quit and make up his own facts and ending? I think it takes a very imaginative person to be so delusional and ignorant and yet STILL have the physical capability to remember to breathe in once for each time he breathes out. I, for one, applaud this hero for having the guts to anonymously attack and unintentionally prove a number of Melissa’s points… Jumping to conclusions, name calling, blurting out uninformed opinions… How good was he at those? Yes, I did some of those things in my response, but let’s face it, he’s not going to read that far… Truthfully, I’m hoping DB McA will leave a “you’re a hypocrite” reply because I think that’d be hilarious. And it’d also prove that he read an entire post for the first time in his life. If he responds to thank me for defending him, then he stopped after sentence 2 again… We shall see!

      • But, in all seriousness (and most importantly, devoid of all sarcasm), I’d like to thank all those who have defended Melissa from this clown’s nonsensical, unwarranted and moronic verbal attack. Thank you for being intelligent and believing in reading comprehension. You don’t have to agree with everything (or even anything) that she said, but at least you have the decency to respect her enough to not deride her for blogging about her opinions… (sarcasm generator reactivating) …no matter how stupid and out of touch those opinions may be! 😉 Sorry, I can only leave that thing off for so long before my life source drains. 🙂

        Love your blog Melissa! Long time reader, first time commenter…

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