In the midst of all the positiveness of the Christmas season it saddens me to first hear of a story of someone's untimely passing and second to read some people's reactions. I came across an Internet article today that shared the sad news of a young military man who died from a parachuting accident while on vacation with his wife in Australia. I have the utmost respect for veterans and the sacrifices they make for the sake of others. This young veteran had served on tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He deserved a vacation full of adventures and quality time with his wife. The part of the article that seemed to be a bigger deal than it should have been was the fact that the wife had won the vacation from the Ellen show. The fact that she'd won the vacation didn't change the fact that she'd just become a widow, nor did it cause the unfortunate accident.
Many of the readers showed sympathy and empathy for the new widow, while some of the readers (complete strangers) used the opportunity to make completely ignorant comments. Comments like, 'Will the widow sue the Ellen show? Because that's what everyone does these days.' and 'Well, that's what happens when you have a gay person with a TV show.' Seriously? That's the first thing that comes to their mind when someone they never even met dies? I didn't read through the balance of the comments because to be honest - they made me sick!
I made an observation though regarding the 10-12 comments I did read. The comments that seemed sincere with sympathy had actual photo IDs with what looked like legit names. The ignorant comments ALL came from people with cartoon IDs and made-up fictitious character names. So why do some people feel they can hide behind their cartoon IDs, their made-up names, and the freedom of speech amendment? Why do some people try to get their 5 minutes of fame by showing their ignorance?
When I blog I prefer to share uplifting and inspiring thoughts, but sometimes I suppose we need to point out the obvious in the hopes that it'll make us all a little more aware of the things we say and the things we do. Everyone's actions, including our own, have consequences. We can't always change other people's behavior, but we can choose to be responsible for ourselves. I realize I am human (as we all are) and by no means perfect, but if I ever do that PLEASE let me know so I can smack myself upside my head.
In the true spirit of Christmas, may we be more thoughtful of others, be plentiful with our good intentions, and more importantly with our follow-through.