- David Marcus: Lieutenant Saavik was right: You never have faced death.
- James T. Kirk: No, not like this. I haven't faced death. I've cheated death. I've tricked my way out of death and -- patted myself on the back for my ingenuity. I know nothing.
- David: You knew enough to tell Saavik that how we face death is at least as important as how we face life.
- Kirk: Just words.
- David: But good words! That's where ideas begin. Maybe you should listen to them.
The context is obviously different and not particularly important. What is important is that last line of David's, and that is what has stuck with me.
News in Orlando brought about the expected horrified responses and a lot of people expressing sympathy and saying they were sending their thoughts and prayers.
Not for the first time, but assuredly the loudest, there was a lot of backlash to this, with people angrily saying that thoughts and prayers were empty and useless, and that it was a time for action, not words.
I get the anger. The anger is justified. It's justified after a single such attack occurs, much less the umpteenth. And yes, we need to do more to make sure all of our people (no matter who they are) are protected from violent attacks (no matter what motivates them).
But I hesitate to tell anyone that their words are useless. Before we can act, before we should act, we need to stop. And think. And feel. And speak. We may question that sincerity of what is said by some, particularly those speaking out in sympathy with a group that they usually cast aspersions upon, and that's only natural and probably good (question everything, I say, but not to the point where your skepticism prevents you from accepting what may be genuine, if unexpected, support; that's a problem, too).
But - and I may be totally naive here - I cannot believe than any expression born from empathy and kindness will ever be useless.
Taking the next step and turning those words into action is important and necessary, yes, but it's a start, We can work with a start, so never downplay the importance of words.
Especially good words.
That's where ideas begin.