Stop Yelling, Start Listening

First and foremost, the attack in Orlando was an atrocious display of homophobia by one of our own American citizens. This man, who was on an FBI watch list, legally purchased a semi-automatic weapon and committed a horrible crime.

I'm not one to plaster my political beliefs on the internet because quite frankly, I know I'm unlikely to change anyone's mind in today's extremely divided and polarized political climate. More importantly, I realize that I am not well versed or knowledgeable enough to be throwing out statements on gun control or immigration.

But today, everyone thinks they're an expert. Everyone has their heels dug into beliefs that are perpetuated by their desire to read only news sources that tell them what they already believe, to only "like" statuses that reduce complex issues to internet memes, to simply click "unfriend" when someone posts something that challenges their comfort.

Immigration, the radical and hateful beliefs held by Muslims and Christians and atheists alike, gun-control - these are extremely complicated issues that will never be solved by opponents who refuse to engage in meaningful conversation and admit that NO ONE has the right answer as of yet. If we did, 49 innocent people wouldn't be dead.

The best way we can honor the victim's of this horrible attack is to stop yelling and start listening - listening to people of every faith, political party, race, and sexual orientation. Especially the ones who are different from you.

To add a newspaper or magazine to your reading-list which challenges your beliefs. To seek out the other side to every story. To unblock the people from your Facebook feed who you don't always agree with. To read a book on a topic that you know nothing about. To love the fact that our country and our world are filled with humans that possess incredible ideas, different backgrounds, and unique experiences that when nurtured can help fix this scary time that we live in.

It's OK to say "I don't know what we should do." I just beg you not to say, "This is what we need to do" before sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling "LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU" to those who may present an alternative.