Tag Archives: crisis

Chaos in Creation

My lunchtime view as I wolfed down a sandwich:

Thank You, Lord, for the beauty of Your creation in the midst of all our chaos.

As calming as this should be, I am not calm. After all kinds of discussion about immigration and security, I can’t help but think of the image of a three year old Syrian boy face down in the sand. He was one of the few out of the throng of people displaced by the crises in our world, one circumstance that caught our attention.

I can’t picture what his life was like. 

But I can picture my youngest boy, now six, the way he lights up every room he’s in and every face he sees. I try to picture him lying face down on the beach, but I don’t want to see that. 

So I try to picture someone explaining to me, in that circumstance, that “we’re worried about Trojan Horses and terrorist threats, that’s why we couldn’t help you.”

I try to imagine how absolutely hollow and self-serving those words would sound.

It’s hard. I don’t have answers or good policy suggestions. I just have these feelings on my mind that I need to get out.

Yeah, it’s a base appeal to emotion trying to stir up compassion. I always thought compassion was pretty exceptional. I always thought America was too.

But at least we’re sort of safe or something.

I Am Not Omran

In the aftermath of the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie became a unifying rallying cry for those who wanted to say something against the attack. “I am Charlie,” it meant. In other words, I am with them, and an attack on them is an attack not only on freedom in general, but on me personally.

While I mourn the 12 people slain that day, there have reportedly been 250,000 killed in Syria over the last five years of civil war. Quick math in my head works that out to about 135 people killed on average daily every day for the last five years straight. 

I don’t recall seeing many hashtags. And I don’t want to. 

In the midst of the most ridiculous (read: horrifying and frustrating) Presidential election in my experience and to my historical knowledge,  we’re treated to horror stories of how ISIS might send attackers to pose as refugees, and how “swarms” of people in need are flooding into countries that permit them entry. Fear is the message, personal safety is paramount, and people in need are rationalized away as a risk or at best a sad reality we can’t do much about.

Well, a picture of this Syrian boy named Omran has been making the social media rounds… and in an emotionally gripping video, CNN reported on his situation. 

I watch this and it strikes me that “Je ne suis pas Omran.” I am not him. I don’t know his world, his life, his circumstances, or his pain. I can’t relate. I can’t claim “This is me too.”

I’m living in comfort, abundance, and security. It may not always feel that way, when the budget is tight or the news is frightening. But it’s a good bet no one who can see this post is experiencing a crisis or situation anything like his (and the millions of people displaced and affected by this ongoing humanitarian disaster).

When I look at Omran, what I see is a striking similarity to my five year old son. He’s the “baby” of the family, the darling, the youngest of four children. He entertains us all with hilarious antics and endearing, heartfelt expressions of innocence and love. He is free to do so because #JeNeSuisPasOmran. 

No, I am not Omran. And that means I likely have the power to help. 

Yes, I understand the fears people have about national security. And in my brain–fueled as it is by seasons of 24 and the like–I can see how easy it might be to slip a threat into the country posing as a refugee. 

But maybe just maybe a lot of refugees are actually people in deep, desperate need. And a lot of organizations are helping them where they are, or in neighboring countries. So fear about our safety in the US is no reason to ignore the plight of others. 

Please consider what you can do. Here are some organizations I found that appear to be helping. 

Hand in Hand for Syria

Helping Agencies

Save the Children

Tragedy at the Polls

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste” – Rahm Emanuel.

Any time there’s a tragic event, the news media on both sides go into overdrive, trying to figure out “How could this happen?”

It’s no different with Aurora, Colorado and the terrible news of the massacre at the midnight showing of Dark Knight Rises.

As everyone tries to make sense of the story, folks on the Right want to decry the nation’s loss of family values and our distance from God. It’s all either part of an assault on Christian values, or it’s just another sign of what we have brought upon ourselves by previous assaults on Christian values.

It’s certainly not simply a tragedy. That headline doesn’t get hits on the website. 

On the other hand, Leftist media (no, wait, “impartial journalists” I mean) want to paint the shooter as a Tea Party anything. As long as “Jim Holmes, the shooter in the theater” gets connected to “Tea Party” in the same sentence, mission accomplished.

It’s not like there could be anyone else named Jim Holmes. Oh wait, maybe there could be. Oops. Our bad.

But the damage is already done. Jim Holmes is already associated with the Tea Party… enough that people will assume the connection is true, in spite of the retraction.

One comment on the story quoted Twain:

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

Hey, I get it. It’s an election year. We have to maximize every opportunity… and what an opportunity this is!

The Right can talk about how godless and lost America has become, under the evil influence of Hollywood, or video games, or the Internet, or Lord-knows-what. If only we put our faith in Jesus!

Yeah, except for the Catholic church pedophile scandals and the various prominent televangelists and ministers whose falls get worldwide attention…

Maybe claiming faith in Jesus doesn’t magically fix every problem in our society. 

Likewise, the Left can rail against the benighted fools who cling to their guns and their Bibles, chanting about Second Amendment rights. They can demand stricter gun control laws… as if the suspect was concerned about following the existing gun laws! Gun control laws and bans work great on the law-abiding populace…

But the law-abiding populace isn’t really our problem.

Heck, we’ll throw in there that angry parents on both sides can rant about those who might bring a baby to a theater at midnight. It’s all the fault of the parents everywhere! If Jim Holmes’ parents had done a better job, then maybe we’d be better off.

If we can just assign some blame, then we can get past the tragedy and deal with the “real” problem!

But nothing in life is ever so simple.

The facts of the matter are that twelve people were murdered and more than fifty were wounded.


Not surprisingly, someone intent on harming others chose a midnight showing of one of the most anticipated movies of the year.

It (most likely) wasn’t because of a  supposed liberal agenda in the movie where the 99% rise up against the wealthy 1%. It (most likely) wasn’t because OMG Bane sounds just like Bain, and maybe the movie is a dig on Mitt Romney.

(I want to scream every time I hear someone suggest that the name of the villain in a movie that has been in production and planning for quite some time is somehow associated with a recent news story about the 2012 election. Bane’s been around since ’93 in the comics. Stop being ignorant.)

My pure speculation is–shock! It was a good bet that the theater would be crowded, and someone intent on harming others used that to his advantage, for no other reason than because there would be a crowd.

That doesn’t score political points.

But maybe that’s not what this is about.

Maybe that’s not the response we need.