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Hope for Aurora

July 22, 2012

When I first heard about the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado via Twitter, I wasn’t entirely sure what had happened. I was riding a Greyhound bus to Columbus, and when I checked my phone periodically for updates I kept seeing tiny hints of bad news in between the usual picture uploads and witty remarks, but for a long time I wasn’t really sure what had happened. By the time I arrived in Columbus, however, my news feed was inundated with all of the details of the tragedy, and the sheer scope and senselessness of the violence that James Holmes inflicted on 71 random strangers left me feeling stunned and helpless.

It seemed to me that in the face of that kind of evil, we’re all helpless. We can’t make people stop hating and hurting each other, can’t remove or repair the fundamentally broken part of humanity that makes us so badly bent; nor can we save the victims of an act so sudden and unforeseen that it claimed 12 lives before anyone could make a move to stop it. It was that feeling of helplessness more than the shock that left me with an infinite weight in my stomach.

Then I realized the truth: while there’s nothing I can do to stop that kind of evil, that doesn’t mean that I’m helpless to intervene. In the aftermath of disasters like the Aurora shootings, we can (and should) commit sudden, brutal acts of kindness to counteract the damage that one sudden, brutal act of violence has caused. We need to show love to the victims and their families, not just express our sympathy, and there’s no better way that I’ve seen to do so than by giving through the Hope Mob (http://hopemob.org).

The Hope Mob is, in their own words, a place “where generous strangers unite to bring immediate hope to people with pressing needs all over the world”, and their M.O. is simple: get generous people to join together through the website, find people with pressing needs, and get every cent that those generous people are willing to give into the hands of the people who need it, in the ways that they need it, right away. It’s a noble cause, brilliantly executed, and I could not insist more adamantly that you go to their site right now and make an account if you’re the kind of person who wishes there was more you could do about the things that break your heart.

There is more you can do, hope you can bring to those who’ve had it ripped from them. So don’t shake your head and keep your distance until the shock wears off. Take action, bring hope to the wounded, and help the people of Aurora rebuild what has been shattered. That’s what real love (and real Christianity) is about, and it’s the only way to combat the evil in the world – overcome it with good.

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