Compassion and Healing in Difficult Times (the Orlando shooting).

It is sometimes easy to get so caught up in the negativity that exists in the world (and there is plenty), that we sometimes forget there is a lot of good happening with a lot of decent people who care about their fellow human beings. There was a very moving story in the news a few days ago that a couple of the hospitals that treated victims of the Orlando shooting will not charge patients who were treated there as a result of the Pulse nightclub shooting. As much as many people believe that health care should be free, it is a service that for different reasons is very expensive, and just like food, clothing, or shelter; it costs money.

The generosity of Americans often goes unnoticed because it is such an integral part of what sets this country apart from many others. Acts of kindness are performed every day by ordinary Americans and charitable organizations in an effort to help bring relief to the lives of others in need and/or who are sometimes suffering. We usually see this munificence and willingness to help after tragedies like natural disasters strike. People generally band together, put their differences aside and work towards bringing relief in the lives of those around them. Great organizations like the Red Cross do wonderful work bringing much needed assistance and relief to those who need it the most, and in communities all across the country people volunteer their time in other meaningful ways to help their fellow countrymen.

When the heartless Islamist ideologue decided to target the night club where he carried out his act of carnage, he was motivated by a distorted sense of morality and reality that is often given birth through hate. His zealotry coupled with the intense hatred that he allowed to fester in his heart obscured his capacity to see these human beings as deserving of compassion. He refused to see these people as sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and friends who are loved by those close to them, and those whose lives they touched. They were no longer human beings in his eyes. His barbarism was implacable and he went on to cruelly end the lives of these innocent people who never did anything to him.

As often happens in the aftermath of similar events, the people rallied to offer support in whatever way they could. They lined up by the hundreds to give blood,  businesses got involved, Chic Filet; a restaurant that does not open on Sundays opened its doors to serve free breakfast to the people who lined up to give blood. People were shocked by what had happened, but in a sharp rebuke to the killer, and others like him whose goal it is to make people cower and live their lives in fear; the people of Orlando showed fortitude and steely resolve to help bring healing to their community. There is nothing that anyone could say or do that would ease the pain of those who lost loved ones to this abhorrent, brutal, horrific act of violence, but there is something refreshing in the way that communities like Orlando respond, and it serves to bring healing to the community as a whole and helps them to get back to a sense of normalcy after something like this happens.

The decision by the Orlando Hospitals to not charge the victims of the shooting that they treated, is an act of kindness that deserves recognition and should be applauded. They did not have to do that. In a world that is often driven by greed, where profit is exalted above everything, and everything else comes after, it is uplifting to see this act of compassion. The hospital wrote off 5.5 million in costs for the services that they rendered. The victims who survived the shooting can concentration on their recovery and not spend time worrying how they will cover the exorbitant cost of being treated. The act of kindness in itself and the relief that it will bring to many of those treated for their wounds will go a long way in their recovery process.

This generosity is nothing strange, Americans usually give their best when circumstances are the worst. The shooter gave no quarter in the cruelty of his act, he was merciless and the pain that he caused will linger in the hearts of loved ones for a very, very long time, but the people of Orlando, Florida and by extension the nation as a whole can take some solace in the equally compassionate response to this act of savagery.

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