Thoughts on the Berlin Christmas Attack

So how many of you are celebrating the holidays right now? Whether you believe in the spirit of Christmas, or rather celebrate the Happy Holidays, whether you think the year was crappy or delightful, I’m sure most of you have some sort of tradition or party planned this month. It is my sad duty to inform you that, as of now, there are over 60 people that will not share your holiday spirit, 12 of which will never get that chance again.

In case you are not aware, a truck was driven through a Christmas market in front of a church in West Berlin. The truck was reportedly stolen from a construction site in Poland, and when it was recovered had a Polish man inside of it, dead, and not suspected to be the driver, unlike the 23 year old Pakastani man they caught fleeing the scene, who is the “suspected” perpetrator of this attack.

I’m not going to go into all of the details of this, because there aren’t that many definitive ones as of yet, but more important you shouldn’t just take them from me; you should look this up yourself. But this struck a nerve with me. I can’t explain why just yet, Maybe it’s because of the way I heard about it (I’m still listening to the audio now). Maybe it’s because of the timing; a time where most of us at least in some way are celebrating whatsoever the holidays represent to you. And now, at least 60 people who were killed and injured in this deliberate runaway of a 50,000 pound land missile, those people will not have the luxury you and I will have this Christmas, along with their family, their closest friends, The actions of one man has just destroyed the Christmas spirit of at least hundreds of people. So I ask, not with much of a narrative, since I’m typing this on the fly: who many people really care about this?

I hear all the time about how diversity is a strength, how we are all equal and we should be together and a collective. And in some cases, I can understand that. This Christmas, for example, is something we can all enjoy together, if we are all alike. Even if you don’t believe in God, or religion or if you believe in the Pagan holiday version, even if you are a religion that hates Christianity or Paganism you probably at least use the excuse of it to have a good time of it all. And it is alluring, even understandable, to only focus on the good during this time. 60 People no longer have that luxury. Their families will love forward with this black spot in history in mind as they unwrap presents in front of a pine tree that won’t quite have that intoxicating holiday smell to it anymore. Their friends will be brought together, not just because of the camaraderie of their relationship being reaffirmed during the season, but because of those lost among their ranks. And many of them won’t be able to say a word about WHY it happened.

Why? Bring up any conclusion to this you want; I say this is being covered up, at least the motive. I checked my facebook feed before I started writing this, I looked online for the media blow up; maybe I didn’t look hard enough, but there were few stories about this. Hell: one of the links I clicked to get more info to post here was only 3 minutes old. Had this been an attack on, say, someone brown in the U.S., you wouldn’t be able to escape the story, you’d probably even get the same point I’m loosely making here.

I’ll be honest: I don’t have an exact message for you here. From what I read, this man, the one suspected of committing this atrocity, was there for over a year, in a country among many that have taken in many like him, have seen the destruction they are wreaking right now, and are being silenced on fear of ostracization or criminal prosecution. Silence, that allow attacks like this to happen. Silence, that allowed the same thing to happen in Nice. Silence, that allows the kind of destruction that happened in Brussels, and the continued predation upon those in Sweden among many other victims too afraid to speak out even for their own self-interests or even survival. And in case you think, since most of you reading this are in the U.S., think this is a foreign problem, don’t forget the night club in Orlando. The suburb in San Fernando that was torn apart by what appeared to be a nuclear family. Don’t forget the victims of the amateur long pig carver in Minnesota, the butcher at the Burlington Mall of WA State. IGNORING THIS SHIT AFFECTS YOU TOO; you are NOT immune.

This, among many other issues currently plaguing us as a people, as a society, are being silenced, and it’s getting people killed. It is tearing families apart, it is losing people their friendships, it is costing us economically, socially, and spiritually as a group known as modern civilization. And if we, as a people, continue to turn a deaf ear and blind ourselves and other to the threats that come after us, make no mistake, we will die. It may not seem like it, it may seem like I’ve gone nuts for taking this stance, and I’d like to assure you I was nuts long before today; I hope that helps! But I know I’m not the only one that sees this. I’m not the only one that understands at least some minimal iota of what’s going on; some of you reading this right now are thinking the same thing (I know, because you actually read this far). Your alarm bells are going off right now, and have been for a while. And, I daresay, many of you have been silenced. Maybe you think this is an inappropriate topic. Maybe you think you’ll alienate others by saying something, maybe you’re afraid of being attacked, by losing friends and family, some of which you’ve known your entire life.

I hate to tell you this, but either way, you will lose them.

I’m known here for speaking about issues I believe in, quite too fervently in the words of some people. I lose friends all the time, I’ve lost several family members, I get in all kinds of verbal fights that sometimes turn into real ones. What I do here may seem petty and stupid at times, and I understand that, but don’t even think I don’t feel that loss I get when I have to combat those I care about to stand up for what I believe in. I may be glib about it, I may even celebrate it at times. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck, that instead of having a nice laugh and a good time with someone I used to hang out with, I’m kicking the shit out of instead, looking like the one asshole so insensitive it could be wiped with an extra coarse cheese grater without so much as a flinch. I’m used to being demonized. You think that’s easy? That’s what I’m asking you to do.

I know I’m not alone. I know you, right now, have heard at least some of what I have said, have maybe seen it in action, and have said nothing. It’s time to step up. It’s time for YOU to say something. Look into the facts, look beyond what the news outlets tell you, find out the truth, and get it out to people. You will lose family. You will lose friends. You may lose co-workers, even your job (O.K., maybe don’t take the soapbox at your source of income.) You may lose entire social circles, you may be hated and called all kinds of names. You must search for and promote the truth regardless. Because the alternative is all too much worse.

I asked a question at the beginning of this. About how many of you are preparing to celebrate the holidays, then brought up the ones that won’t be celebrating with you. Imagine this was your family, your friends, that was attacked. Imagine: you thought about your wife, your husband, your child, your brother; you took the time to think about what they might want for Christmas, what they already have and what they might want, and picked out the perfect present for them. You planned the perfect party, the most solid get together. You bought that Prime NY Strip roast, made the perfect mashed potatoes, boiled some Brussel sprouts for the weird cousin that’s going through their vegan phase. You’ve hung up the best decorations, Got the nicest tree with the greenest leaves and the shiniest tinsel to put your well-sought gift for your most loved ones.

And then the news comes in.

Your wife has been run over at a church by a crazy guy with a Semi loaded with heavy metal.

Your best friend was a bit too close to the shrapnel packed vest that some guy was wearing before it went kaboom.

Your sister happened to get in the way of the barrel of an active AK-47.

Your child, fresh off of school and excited about winter break and presents you spent all month finding for them, just to see their shining faces, they were too close to the crazy guy with the cleaver.

Your Christmas, ruined, marred by the death of those whose lives you wanted to celebrate while they were alive and happy and loved you back.

I’d like to hope this doesn’t happen, that it would never happen. But it already has. 12 people are dead, 48 more injured, hundreds, perhaps an entire country in mourning for the deaths of those that didn’t need to die! Fuck my hopes; this isn’t even already happening, it’s already happened. It’s been happening for years. And it will continue to happen until we stop it, until we start to say something about this. Imagine; if you could’ve spoken out about, say, a group of people that spelled trouble to you, and could at least avoid them. That you could’ve taken those arrows from those that would call you racist, sexist, xenophobic, some of those bolts fired from the crossbows of friendly arms. To stand your ground and speak out for what’s right, to fight back despite the onslaught of verbal aggression. But you didn’t. You didn’t stand, You didn’t fight, You didn’t speak out.
And then the news comes in.

And you did nothing.

12 people died today, trying to celebrate Christmas. 48 may just join them. Hundreds of their friends and family and fellow countrymen, along with those of neighboring countries will mourn with them. The polish man’s family will mourn as well as wonder if there was something, anything they could’ve done to prevent their husband, their father, brother, friend, from getting into that truck today and being murdered by a madman that went on to slaughter dozens of others . Whatever their resolve, their holiday spirit has been marred, by death, destruction, physical pain and mental anguish. A time of joyous celebration turned into an abrupt nightmare.

Their lives have been altered forever. Yours don’t have to be. You have the power, however great or minute, to alter the future, to help stop this kind of thing from happening again. SO I beg you to ask yourself the question: Will you take that power; despite the terrible responsibilities and consequences, will you use it?

Or will you wait, and see if your family is next?

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