10 (New Year’s) Resolutions for Responding to Violent Tragedy

After a tragedy, sometimes people ask “where was God in this?”  Sometimes I want to ask “where is God in your response?” and, more importantly, “what kind of God is in your response?”

Can we agree to a verbal armistice? Let’s pretend that bad memes and misuse of statistics are like using nerve gas and Agent Orange.  Be the bigger one and stop using it, demonstrating that not-using-it-ness to those who disagree with you.  Come on, I know you can do it.

Instead of asking Congress to pass or repeal laws, I am setting forth principles I think we should all live by as we use social media after a tragedy.  Call them resolutions, if you will, although I hope the last more than a year.

Share these with your friends if you’d like.  Post them on your wall.  Feel free to add to, take away from, or alter them.  Or just critique them.  My hope is that they will be part of a better starting ground for all of us.


1. I will try to wait longer before responding to a tragedy with anything more than shared mourning, prayer, and spiritual vigilance for the mourning of others and the comfort I can provide.

2. I will not use a tragedy to further a political aim.

3. I will refuse to post bumper sticker-style memes, quotations and cartoons that simplify what is a very complex issue all to support an opinion I have, but instead offer discussion that seeks to find and examine facts, statistics, and committed philosophical reasoning.

4. I will not needlessly politicize issues by tying them to an ideology and then attacking ad hominem, e.g., “Any solution involving gun control is liberal and ergo stupid” or “Any solution involving letting people have guns comes from unloving people and therefore hateful.”

5. I will not equate gun ownership with masculinity, patriotism, heroism, or (and especially not) righteousness (And to be fair, neither will I equate gun ownership with prejudice, hatred, stupidity, or sinfulness).

6. If I own a gun, will not boast of my gun, I will not live by my gun, I will not celebrate my gun, I will not prejudicially threaten anyone with my gun, I will not laugh at criminals who I imagine dying by the hand of my gun in some self-affirming scenario in which I end up some kind of hero.

7. I will not propagate the notion that the Holy Trinity consists of the Bible, the U.S. Constitution, and my gun.

8. If I am a Christian, I will commit to be on the front lines of demonstrating peace and shalom as tools to fight the powers of the air, not to be on the front lines of telling everyone to “gear up” for a battle of flesh and blood.

9. I will not automatically believe every claim made by the NRA about the rights of Americans being taken away (and I will make myself aware that they have been known to exaggerate their claims as a way of manipulation through fear in order to gain more funding for their cause).

10. I will love all people, as I always should, and I will seek to be a healer.

Number 4 actually given to me by Jeremy Marshall of the NeoPrimitive blog.

7 responses to “10 (New Year’s) Resolutions for Responding to Violent Tragedy

  1. Pingback: Net-forage 1.7.13 « neoprimitive

  2. Pingback: Wednesday’s Links To Go | Tim Archer's Kitchen of Half-Baked Thoughts

  3. I was going to tell you about Tim Archer’s post!! He is an old blogging friend of mine, and I saw that post linked on facebook yesterday and thought of you. I was also going to share your next post with him. How about that. 🙂
    I affirm and commit to these resolutions!!

  4. Pingback: Why I Have a Baseball Bat by My Bed | CALEB COY

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