Dear shooter: I will not learn your name


Dear shooter,

I will not learn your name.
I will not read about your vision or your passion
or your manifesto; the views, the hatred
that led you to this act.

I will not share your image on social media
Or comment on the news reports that do.
I will do my best to not even think of you, to unmake your
memory, to forget that such a person ever lived.

You did not win either my admiration or my horror.

But if you had come to me before and said,
“I am angry,” “I am terrified,” “I am alone,”
“I am filled with hatred, for you, for everyone.”
I would have looked you in the eyes as best I could.

I would have spoken your name out loud.
I would have told you the truth, as I know it,
That you are beloved, that you are not alone.
That Love has not passed you over — even you.

And the way I know this is that Love loves me, too —
Even me. I would have looked on you with compassion
And said a prayer for you. I would have called heaven to your aid.
But I will not give you notice now.

I will not learn your name.


12 comments on “Dear shooter: I will not learn your name

  1. Will Moriarty says:

    you can definitely write


  2. This is a wonderful thing. Exactly what needs to be said. I will do my best to spread this thought.


  3. Elaine Cohoon Miller says:

    Powerful. And how do we that – step into the presence of those who, absent our presence, our knowing and name, will do such as this again? And again? How do we show up for this sacred work?


    • Good questions, Elaine. I don’t really know. Maybe in small ways, throughout our day, noticing people it would be easier to ignore, returning anger with kindness, messing up and trying again, forgiving and asking forgiveness.


      • Matt Kantrowitz says:

        If you really want to help the haters and the shooters, get involved with prison ministry.


  4. lydia sabra says:

    Jessica, you just hit the root of all the world’s problems: lack of Love!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Will Moriarty says:

    It seems that the range from the worst of us to the the best of us is increasing. Acts of cowardice are meeting acts of heroism in random libraries, restaurants, street corners. The difference between roles is growing more visible, so every citizen can see, can choose.


  6. Beautiful message, Jessica. I love it.


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