When kindness shocks

What I do

My books have a lot of violence.  They contain sexual assault, murder, physical altercations, gunshots and sometimes, serial killers.  Mostly because of the genre in which I write (crime fiction), there is violence… and a lot of it.  But honestly, it’s because I’m fascinated that the human mind can go so terribly awry.

What doesn’t shock me.

I find it odd when people hear about shootings or other acts of violence and say, “I can’t believe it.”  I do believe it.  It’s not difficult to wrap my mind around the random acts of violence that plague our earth anymore.  I shake my head.  My heart aches for my children, knowing that the world isn’t becoming a better place.  I worry about the potential violence that may reach their lives, and mourn the loss of their innocence because some of it has.  I don’t expect the violence, but I know and accept that it exists.  I’m not in shock.  I think this is healthy. It makes me aware.  It makes me prepared.

Kindness shocks

I’ve run across a lot of stories in the last month or so about random acts of kindness, paying it forward and human compassion.  This does shock me.  Why?  Because it’s been so long since I’ve borne witness to such events myself.  Below are just a few stories that touched my heart.  I do hope they touch yours.

Parents give away Starbucks coffee to commemorate their daughter #AJO.  It’s a touching story that spread across the web, twitter, race, religion, states… Just warms your heart.

ht_alyssa_oneill_coffee_jtm_130927_16x9_992  Click here to read full story.

An act of empathy on a train. (Click here to read the full story.)  Why does this touch us?  Is it so shocking because there is a hooded African American male sleeping on the yarmulke wearing Jew?  The man simply felt empathy and compassion because (brace yourself) he’d been that tired before.  He didn’t see a threat. He didn’t worry about his own comfort.  He’d been so tired he’d fallen asleep on a train and knew the young man must have needed the rest.

Courtesy of the Huffington Post.

Courtesy of the Huffington Post.

And finally, the story of this San Diego officer’s random act of kindness moments before his death.  His murder isn’t the topic of the story, it’s what he did for one 13 year old boy.  He bought him McDonalds and chatted with him about his future.  He was shot to death moments later sitting in his squad car… only a short time after returning from serving two tours in Iraq.

It’s not okay with me that I’m not shocked by violence, but I am by empathy, compassion and kindness.  I fear that I’m not alone in this.  We should come to expect these things.


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