Tears drip from my fingertips onto my keyboard tonight. #Dallas. 12 officers shot. 1 civilian. 5 dead. It has to stop. There are only so many times Facebook profile pic badges can honor the senselessly lost.
It used to be horrific events would happen rarely and infrequently enough that I would remember where I was at the exact moment it happened. The Space Shuttle Columbia explosion, I was in the tunnel at Carleton University, first year Journalism student. Oklahoma bombing, it was my brother's birthday, April 19th. Columbine, I was just finishing a press check on a brochure for a client. 9/11, I was starting my day at my marketing agency and client/friend, Stephanie was on her way to the airport in Vancouver and called me to tell me why her flight was cancelled and to turn on the TV. Virginia Tech shooting, I was checking into my hotel in Raleigh and the front desk clerk told me. Sandy Hook in Newtown, I was at work in San Diego. Boston Marathon, I was on a conference call with the Tampa team, in my office in San Diego - it was a sunny day.
Now there is an event as awful as this it seems once a week. Charleston, SC. San Bernardino, CA. Paris nightclub. Roseville, OR. Orlando, FL. These are the ones I remember from the past few months. NOT the ones I can never forget. The balance has tipped. What once was a rare, shocking occurrence has become a shockingly common one.
This week alone: Turkey airport. Bangladesh coffee shop. Baton Rouge, LA. Minnesota, MN. And now Dallas, TX.
I will walk into the office tomorrow, past colleagues who will be staring unemotionally and blankly at the big screen TV on the wall as they wait for their coffee to brew. Some will ignore them and walk past. Others will stop and engage, and pass judgement and predictions about why this happened and who's to blame.
One of our co-workers is in Dallas tonight, with her son in a national fencing championship - he came in second in his age class. They are staying a few blocks from the Dallas events. I texted her to check in. She was calm, trying to get her son who was very upset ("My son is flipping out. I need to play it down because he's a mess") safely back to their hotel after enjoying a baseball game. No mother should feel that. No child should feel that fear. No mother should lose their child (and 5 did so far tonight) to the violence we experience daily.
Please resist the cause-effect flawed equations. Please resist placing blame, and inflaming the anger that is so prevalent. Please resist drawing conclusions to reinforce a position, or god forbid make it a political statement in this crazy time. As leaders - and all of us are leaders in our own way - whether as a parent, a business owner, a manager of people in an organization, or just someone the guy at the local coffee shop talks to, we need to change the discourse. There is far too much anger, hatred, judgement, and just pure frenzy.
As leaders, we need to speak, teach, and act tolerance, compassion, kindness, patient, love. Anything but the spread of judgement and hatred so much a part of the dialogue today.
It has to stop. Make the screaming and pain and violence stop. We are much better than this.