I’m going to largely not talk about the Oregon shooting. Given my particular views on the issue, I’m going to say this, instead:
There are thousands of people who may see this post, my friends, close friends, family, acquaintances, former coworkers, fans, even a few people I don’t actually like, but this goes for each and every one of you. If you’re in a place of depression, loneliness, isolation, or just need someone to talk to, reach out and I’ll listen. I’ll help if I can. I’ve been there, and I understand what it’s like. Even if I dislike you for whatever reason, I don’t want to see you dead, much less an active participant in tragedy.
For all the conversations about gun control or mental health access, it’s important to remember that we’re all first responders, trained or not. It’s within the capacity of every human on this planet, or orbiting it for that matter, to be a helping hand or guiding light to the person next to them. It’s on each of us to understand our role in these tragedies, either as a responder, a preventer.. or worse, a cause.
When in doubt, talk to a counselor. I have, and for as much as I keep personal details of my life close to the vest, I’m not ashamed to say it. I struggled with depression for years, and seeking help was the hardest and best thing I ever did. The mood swings, the unreliability, the constant anger, the lashing out, many of you were there for that time in my life. I tried a number of solutions, including medication, but ultimately, it took me taking my life in hand and making changes. It took a decision to be happy, and it took strength to make it happen.
My asks: Live consciously. Think before speaking. Back down from extreme, inflexible rhetoric. Evaluate your motivations, and understand how what you’re saying affects others. Find a space in your life to be reflective. There is no ‘harmless’ speech. Teach yourself to learn from people you don’t agree with.
No one has it all figured out. Your life isn’t shitty because you don’t have the newest thing. We won’t remember our heroes for the things they have, but for the things they accomplished, the moments worthy of our respect.