Quick: What do you see in this picture of the sky above the site for the Aurora tragedy victims’ vigil?
If you said “Clouds,” you would be correct.
If you said “An angel,” then, um, you would be Crystal Fuller:
Crystal Fuller took the photo after the vigil was finished Sunday night, but said she didn’t notice the image of the angel right away.
“I noticed it afterwards. I had it posted and said crazy cloud… one of my friends, Barbara Masias, said it’s an angel and I saw it!” said Fuller on the 7NEWS Facebook wall.
Alright, so Fuller is desperate to find any sort of sign of something positive in the wake of the disaster. I’m sure it comforts her. I’m not surprised that she would “see” something that’s not there. And it’s not “rude” or “dickish” to point out that there’s no angel in the clouds. It’s just a random formation of the clouds. What she’s experiencing is pareidolia in action.
(If she were right, I’m wondering what good it does for an angel to appear days after the shooting… Where was it when we needed it?)
Here’s the question I have: Even though we know she’s seeing things that aren’t there, given the situation, is it wrong to point that out? I don’t think you need to mock her, but we should be able to call for honesty to prevail in a time when people are prone to jump to faulty conclusions.
It’s tough to do. It’s a delicate balance. The other day, I criticized Tom Flynn for the way he called out President Obama for mentioning God in his speech on the day of the shootings — not because I disagreed with him, but because I thought he did it in an insensitive way. I didn’t think anyone else was listening to Obama’s speech thinking, “Yep, he didn’t give a shit about any atheist victims.”
In this case, it’s hard to point out the truth without it feeling like a personal attack on Fuller (or religious people in general).
Maybe that’s why the comment thread about this story on the news site is especially depressing. Anyone who dares to mention that there’s no angel in the picture, compassionately or not, is getting reamed out by all the other commenters for trying to act “superior” or being a “hater.”
I wonder if anyone can leave a comment explaining that it’s just a cloud without enraging the other commenters in the process.
(Thanks to Yuri for the link)