I was glad to be able to offer some words of comfort.
Essentially, I was able to say that we are all one and that any action taken that harms another is ultimately hurting oneself.
This is small comfort to anyone on the receiving end of violent abuse, but as personal and global awareness increases through scientific discovery, social and technological development and personal responsibility, life is changing for the better. Not for everyone - not yet - and massive infrastructural changes need to take place gradually and slowly so that power devolves from central governments and corporations to communities, co-operatives and individuals all held transparently accountable to each other. This is already happening slowly and we need to continue to do everything we can to facilitate the process of increasing our own personal integrity, accountability to each other and call for our governments and groups to do the same, be they political, charitable, religious or otherwise.
What do I mean when I say we're all one? You can take it on any level. We all share the same air, we're composed of the same atoms being constantly recycled, we dwell in one system, one biosphere...
My friend has a great deal of love and compassion which opens them up to feel the sufferings of others. It is tempting to retreat from that awareness of suffering in order to lessen our sorrow and sense of powerlessness, but turning away is turning in the wrong direction. We all know that turning off empathy and compassion is the road to psychopathy, but people - and our brains - can and do change.
What hope do we have then who refuse to switch our feelings off, but seem to have nowhere to turn to make things better? Hope may be all we have - but hope is not empty. Indeed, I find hope when I turn towards my centre.
I can speak not only for myself but for many others who have found a similar response to be helpful.
When we empty ourselves of our worries, calm down, still our minds and find our centre, we begin to feel more cohesive within ourselves and connected to positive things in life. I have found that this kind of centring is vital for my own survival. Many techniques helped me to turn towards my centre - Yoga, Tai-Chi, nature, mindfulness - whatever works and helps me to find that stillness and connection with centre.
I am very lucky - throughout my own sorrows, I have had the best support anyone could ask for in terms of family, friends, and trained professionals so I realise I'm coming from a very privileged and untested place when I say these things, but I have my own fears and under that fear there is connection, love and hope.
The fear turns us on to the very real possibility that it could all go very wrong and that we need to connect - to reach within and without - through and beyond our fears in order to make the good things we truly long for happen.