Open letter to mass murderers:

Like most Americans, I’ve been struggling to articulate my thoughts on the Las Vegas tragedy but have been overwhelmed by sadness, anger, and frustration.  But in the last 24 hours I’ve tried to use the more clinical “lawyer” side of my brain to analyze the issues and put them in a context my emotions can handle. There’s nothing I can say to the rest of the population who feels the same way I do, but there are some undeniable truths that potential mass shooters and anyone who might aggrandize them need to hear:

  • If you are suffering from some variant of mental illness (whether you admit it or not), the moment you choose to attack innocent people you will forfeit any sympathy for whatever individual struggles you might have endured.You will simply be another undistinguishable nut job in the primordial sludge of the nuts jobs that came before you.
  • No matter what you are, what you think you are, or what you think you will become, the moment you choose to attack innocent people you are (by all universally accepted criteria) a loser.Your attempts to rationalize or justify your actions through blabbering manifestos will only confirm your loserness.  In fact, don’t waste any time on manifestos.  Hardly anyone reads them and those that do just notice the typos and lack of coherent thought.
  • You are a coward.I don’t mean that as a figurative insult – the very nature of your acts is the proof. You ambush unarmed civilians with guns, knives and bombs. Maybe when you were a kid someone called you a sissy.  They were right.
  • No matter what evil-genius plan you come up with you won’t be remembered.We get it, the world is filled with evil.  But in the history of evil, your selfish act will be no more relevant than an individual cockroach in an infested house.  I don’t remember the name of a single 9/11 terrorist but will never forget Tom Burnett, Mark Bingham, Jeremy Glick, or Todd Beamer (“let’s roll”), and I still get a feeling of pride when I see the letters FDNY.  And a special shout-out to the most recent nutjob/loser/coward – I don’t know your name but for the rest of my life I will remember Jack Beaton of Bakersfield (who died shielding his wife); Kelsey Meadows from Taft who had just started a journey devoted to others as a teacher; and Heather Gooze who held Jordan McIldoon’s hand for hours after he died so he wouldn’t be alone.
  • Whatever you intended will have the opposite result.Every bullet you fire will inspire a hundred random acts of kindness. Every ordinary person you kill will become a hero because the world will know and celebrate everything good about them. And you? Grainy (unflattering) pictures of you and your sissy little hidey-hole will appear on CNN for a week or two and then you will vanish into oblivion. We won’t even be glad you’re dead because acknowledging your death is an admission that you ever existed.

If you’re still reading, there’s hope. If you want to be brave, ask for help. If you want to be a hero, help someone else who is struggling. If you want to be remembered, read the biographies of the most recent victims and emulate the lives they lived.