I don’t really want to write about anything today other than the tragedy that happened in Manchester last night. But also, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what words I could possibly use to sum up how I feel, how awful it is. I have nothing to add to the conversation that hasn’t been said already or more eloquently by people with more influence, or sensitivity. I don’t live in Manchester. I have friends who do, but none of them were at the concert. This is not something that has or will directly affected my life. But that doesn’t mean I’m not heartsick, or angry, or a million other things.
There is a tendency, with things like this, to see the outpouring of public grief as insincere, or a form of mass hysteria. To look at people offering love and sympathy around the world with cynical eyes and critical words. Who does that help? Really? Everything is more complex than the public narrative would make it seem, there are always nuances that we miss the further away we are. But if people are being sensitive (and I know not everyone is) and thoughtful, if they want to show they care but the only way they can think to do that is a hashtag or a filter on their profile picture – who are you to criticise that?
My mind keeps coming back to the fact that this attack wasn’t a random act of violence. It was carefully planned, and calculated, and targeted to hit children. The majority of that audience (at the risk of stereotyping) would be teenage girls. Teenage girls – who feel things so strongly, and love things so hard, who have such incredible minds and their whole lives ahead of them. I can’t wrap my head around it. I work with girls like that every day. I can see their faces. I remember being that. I remember going to my first concert, at a big arena. It would never have crossed my mind that I wouldn’t get home. How can a human being make that decision? How can anyone want to ruin lives, and destroy families, and kill children? To specifically target children? I don’t like to use the word evil. I have always believed that bad things are done by broken people with flawed thought patterns, but that no one is innately evil, that anyone can learn and change. But this. This feels like it comes from evil.
I know that writing about it isn’t helpful. That the poor, poor people who have lost a friend, a loved one, a child, won’t feel better when they look at twitter or facebook and see messages offering to stand with them. I can’t begin to imagine that pain.
The world feels very broken right now. I guess all we can do is look after and love each other.