So much has been said about what went down in Sydney on Monday, culminating in the deaths of three people in the early hours of Tuesday morning. I don't need to add any more commentary on this, other than to send good thoughts to the hostages and those who died and the scene, wishing them, and their families love, strength and peace.
See, I'm one of the millions of office workers who regularly stops in at a cafe to pick up a coffee, juice or some buttered raisin toast during the morning. I get how this event has permeated society and how the collective grief has encompassed us all. We all think, "It could have been me, my colleague, my friend in that cafe." And true, it could have been any one of us there. Thankfully it wasn't.
Like many other Australians, I'm thankful that our strict gun laws prevent people from owning semi-automatic weapons. I grew up on a farm. I've grown up around guns - I'm not anti-gun, but if you're not a soldier, a policeman, a farmer or a member of a registered gun club, what do you need a gun for? Strengthening the gun laws after the Port Arthur massacre was one of the best things Prime Minister John Howard did (possibly the only thing, but I do give him credit for this one). That this gunman only had a shot gun probably saved many lives. Not that you want nutters to have guns at all - but we can all be a very thankful that this was not a hell of a lot worse than it was - many more could have died. They didn't. As tragic as this whole situation is, they managed to keep the casualties to a minimum. May those involved be able to get on with their lives quickly and peacefully.
I'm pretty cranky at the media at the moment - I'm not sure that the blanket coverage on all four main free-to-air stations was the best way of handling this - however I get why they did it and this time around, they appeared to be a lot more reserved and cautious about what they were broadcasting - thank goodness. Unlike the Daily Telegraph with it's misrepresenting headlines and dog-whistling at those prone to ignorance and hatred. A complaint is in with the Press Council about this - breaching too many of the Press Council rules. May this lead to the demise of the Murdoch empire - horrid man. Horrid organisation. He's ruined enough lives over the years.
Since all this broke on Monday, and continued into Tuesday there's been a couple of things going through my mind.
One is something that we hear a lot in Freemasonry.
The only thing that can overcome the darkness, is the light. We need light, more light.
By focusing on the darkness, we take away the ability to see the truth, what is before us, what is good. You cannot see what you need to see without shining a light things. Light is the antidote for darkness.
So I suppose what I'm saying is that even when we're faced with such horrific and terrifying actions such as what happened here on Monday, focusing on the good, the kind and the courageous is a far, far more productive than concentrating on the bad. Of course, be aware, grieve, reflect, get angry in appropriate ways, but find the light and move forward.
As has been said so many times in the last few days, Australia, we're better than this. We're bigger than this. From every changed behaviour that's instigated from this man's foul actions, he's won.
I won't let that happen. I'll continue to look people in the eye, nod, smile, say hello in acknowledgement. I'll continue to strive for harmony and peace on this earth. I'll continue to look for the light.
The other words that keep resonating with me are some ones often heard at weddings. Corinthians 13 4-7 and 13. I'm not a Christian, but these are great words.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
In times like these, this is the message that needs to be spread.
Keep calm, keep safe, love your family and friends. And keep looking for the light.