Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

I am exasperated by our simplemindedness

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So the above Tweet was posted yesterday by an (alleged) concerned parent after the terrorist attack in Manchester. As you can see, it was retweeted 21,000 times. Which is righteous.

A bunch of hours later, there was a follow-up Tweet. A positive update. The kid was fine …

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Now, it turns out the whole thing was a hoax. The boy was never missing, the Tweeter was some attention-seeking asshole, etc, etc. Just awful, cruel, mean-spirited bullshit. But, for a moment, let’s turn back time and act as if we don’t know it was a con.

This is one of the Tweets that followed the “My son is okay!” update …

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I don’t know Dr. Rose Hanson. According to her linkedin page, she’s the director of consumer advocacy for the state of Ohio, as well as an adjunct professor at Indiana Wesleyan University. She holds multiple degrees, was a volunteer at the YMCA, clearly has marvelous intentions and an enormous heart.

But, well, WTF?

In the immediate aftermath of a senseless suicide bombing that killed 22 people (many of them children), how the hell can anyone read a Tweet of some random guy turning up healthy and conclude, “Praise God!!!! Prayers do work!”? I’m at a loss here. Prayers work? Prayers work? What?

Here, this is Saffie Rose Roussos—age 8. She attended an Ariana Grande concert, and now her life is over …

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This is Georgina Bethany Callander. She was 18. She attended an Ariana Grande concert, and now her life is over …

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This is John Atkinson. He was 26. He attended an Ariana Grande concert, and now his life is over. You can help pay for his funeral here

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This is three of 22. Did their prayers not work? Was God not listening? Does he act in “mysterious ways”? Does he have a plan for everyone? Are the people who died now his little angels, floating on a cloud?

I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be crass or callous. But I’m really angry. Why? Because I’m sick and tired of contrived bullshit in the aftermath of awfulness. You know what? Maybe we need to feel the pain. Maybe we need to be crushed that lives have extinguished, without lathering the burn with “she’s in a better place.”

Personally, I am of the very strong opinion that prayers don’t work; that God isn’t listening; that it’s up to humanity to figure this stuff out. And, truly, why is that so awful? Maybe dying in a car accident, or a plane crash, or a suicide bombing isn’t God’s plan. Maybe life is often brutal, and we need to make the best out of very bad situations.

Maybe accepting that is, ultimately, the way to go.