I always thought that there were two types of people in Pittsburgh. There were the people who grew up in Pittsburgh and loved the city and then there were the people that grew up somewhere else, moved to Pittsburgh for work or family and then stayed because they loved the city, too. No matter what person you were, everyone in Pittsburgh loves Pittsburgh, the city, the football team and its people. However, this weekend was hard and it proved me and a lot of people wrong about Pittsburgh.
This weekend I learned that a city, I love and so many others love also is not one that can escape the hate that’s found in the world. This weekend, a hate filled man entered into a place of worship and opened fire on a group of innocent people.
I’m not going to spend time talking about this person. His picture is already all over the news and all over the internet. The media is articulating every detail they can about this person, trying to figure out why this happened, looking for warning signs and trying to assign blame. Why do we do this every time a mass shooting happens?
We know why this happened. We know how this happened. We know it’s not one single incident that changes a person’s life, we know that it’s not because of that one person that bullied them, and we know it’s not because of that bad thing that happened to them.
It is the result of a continuous culture of thinking that one person is better than another. A lack of understanding of each other, a lack of sympathy, lack of respect and an overall lack of humanity. Going forward we must realize that these atrocities are preventable but we aren’t going to fix them through more guns or through more security but through being accountable for our actions, being kind to our neighbors and trying to see life through the eyes of others. We must lose the ignorant thoughts that “Oh, this can’t happen to us” because it can and it has.
When things such as this weekend happen, it is awful and it is sad. But I am always given hope when I see the way people react. As one Steelers fan sign said this past Sunday, “Hatred cannot weaken a city of steel.” Though myself, and many others have been distraught about what occurred this weekend at The Tree of Life Synagogue, the reaction of the community has given me faith that we will be okay, we will recover, and we will move forward.