This piece encapsulates the way I have felt since the passing of John McCain.
So, for instance, Senator John McCain dies. For the record, the man was a heroic patriot with whom I often disagreed. At such a moment, out of respect for those who knew and loved him, with a due awe for that mortal end which reminds me of our shared humanity and with the understanding that he now stands before the perfect Judge who needs no help from me, I find it right and proper to put all political considerations aside and wish the man well on the Great Journey. Either pay tribute, say Rest in Peace, or keep your mouth shut. Nothing else is required.
And this is how we all behave — for about five minutes. By the sixth minute, however, the reactions on the news channels and social networks have turned predictably vicious. Some can’t get out of their own heads long enough to silence their political snarling. Others use their tributes to McCain to make nasty comparisons to the living. Still others start attacking the way some paid their respects. It’s like watching people pull the man’s body apart and beat each other over the head with his limbs.
Likewise with a shooting like the one in Jacksonville, Florida. We get a few minutes of thoughts and prayers (a completely appropriate response to a tragic situation over which you have no control and in which you had no involvement). Then the screaming starts over the Second Amendment. The nation’s media can’t even give the families of the dead one lousy day to grieve in peace before they are at each other’s throats.
Then the screaming fades. The news and social media move on. Until the next time, when it all starts again.