What a world.
Twenty-six children have been slaughtered.
To protect them, teachers have thrown their bodies into hails of gunfire.
‘Carnage’, as President Obama said:
‘It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realise no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself, that this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbours, the help of a community and the help of a nation.
And in that way we come to realise that we bear responsibility for every child, because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we’re all parents, that they are all our children.’
Why did President Obama stop at ‘nation’? Surely, this is a world issue? As Obama said, our children ‘are all our children’. If ‘all’, why not all of us? The world. He went on to say this:
‘Can we truly say, as a nation, that we’re meeting our obligations?
Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?
Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know they are loved and teaching them to love in return?
Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?’
I invite you to re-read these words and substitute ‘nation’ and ‘country’ with ‘world’.
For, in my experience, the level of response to this horror has been unprecedented. ‘The day after the shooting… photographs of Victoria Soto began to go viral on Facebook’ (International Business Times).
Many of my own friends and contacts on Facebook and Twitter were part of this movement. I have never known anything like it. Unanimously, they agreed with Obama:
‘We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.’
Yes, America, it is you who must change. You must change your gun laws in line with the rest of the civilised world. You must collect up your murderous weapons, throw them onto the fire and destroy them.
The over-riding sentiment on social media has been revulsion and anger at the US gun laws. How can the US – the US of all places – have such uncivilised gun laws and not connect them with the barbaric behaviour of its people?
There is a very fine line between going viral and direct action. Could the following happen?
We, the world, will not let you, America, slaughter children in this way.
We will rise up against you.
We won’t shoot you.
We won’t kill you.
We will isolate you.
Smell the coffee, America, ‘cos we ain’t drinking it. Ask Starbucks.
We will spit out your hamburgers and your ice cream and your fizzy drinks.
We will stop buying your shampoos and your washing powder and your denim.
We will shred your credit cards and withdraw investment in your financial markets.
We will boycott your computers and your software and your e-commerce platforms.
Will we, use your social media channels to do this?
Can Twitter and Facebook be a force for good?
Could it happen?
Will it happen?