We want the same thing.

In the aftermath, when the dust settles, we want the same thing.

Perhaps I am naïve in thinking this.

Perhaps I am foolish to wish this.

Perhaps I am looking through the world with rose colored glasses.

But in this passionate conversation, fueled by anger, hurt, and fear, is not our collective goal safety?

Do we not all want safety for our children at school, safety for our families at concerts, and safety for our friends walking down the street?

We speak so passionately because we are tired of seeing people die. We are tired of seeing laws broken. We are hurting for the broken families, the broken classrooms, the broken communities.

Our nation feels bruised and battered.

And we are tired of using our right to raise our voices, to challenge this situation, and being told we are wrong and evil.

I do not care what side of the argument you are on. I simply care that we, as a nation, can find the maturity and the strength to hear each other out and seek to compromise.

We should not want our nation to fall, in order to prove the opponent wrong, or right.

We should be demonstrating a largeness of mind, a strength of spirit, and a softness of heart.

Nothing can, and will, be accomplished by ostracizing each other, and refusing to listen.

If we want safety, it starts with us.

It starts with us making an intentional and concerted effort to listen, and hear, and understand.

It starts with us, swallowing our pride, to hear and listen to things we don’t agree with.

It starts with us, embracing people we don’t agree with, and not belittling or ridiculing them.

It starts with us, putting aside our differences to reach our goal.

It starts with us, standing together against the evil in the world.

It starts with us, extending an olive branch, saying, “I see your pain. I hear your voice. Let’s address this together.”

If we want people with opposing views to hear what we have to say and to respect our voice, we must first start by listening to and respecting them.

We, as a nation, want safety. But regulations for safety should not be driven by emotional ignorance. Conversations about protection should be propelled by constructive and open dialog, that embraces all perspectives and viewpoints.

My heart is heavy with the recent events. It breaks for the classrooms missing students, for the families missing children, for the workplaces missing coworkers. My heart breaks for the families, whose grief is being plastered all over media, for an agenda.

I write this with a soft voice and an open spirit, hoping this current angry argument will change into a constructive dialog.

The world is not black and white, and scary things happen when we force it to become so.

At the end, it won’t matter who believed what. But it will matter how we handled our differences.

My hurting American brothers and sisters, we want the same thing.

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