Confronting The Tragedy Of Aurora
A day like Friday re-centers the things we worry about, no matter how much we try to put it in perspective.
Like everyone I know, I am sick about the tragedy of the movie-theater shootings in Aurora, Colo., that we woke up to hear about on Friday morning. I fail at trying to imagine what a sickening, abrupt shift it was from the giddy anticipation of vicarious violence, and the eventual triumph of good over evil, to experiencing terror first hand.
We wish blessings on the families and survivors for their healing and recovery.
Over the coming days, weeks and months, we will read and hear many things about suspect James Egan Holmes, about his family and upbringing, about the too many victims, about the lives cut short, and about the excruciating challenges of recovery from this event that happened 15 miles and 13 years from its echo at Columbine High School.
Those personal stories will enrage us with the futility of it all and inspire us with the courage to persevere through.
And there will be rushes to assign blame beyond the deranged shooter. We've already seen too many. We'll see folks contorting themselves to point fingers and to defend themselves in paroxysms of rationale.
But I hope that we will take heed to what little we did learn from the tragedy at Columbine - that, other than the perpetrators, there is no one to blame. Or if there is responsibility to be assigned beyond the killers, it is a responsibility that we each must share in some way.
Our culture makes us all inured to violence, and we accept it. It has become part of our lives, and alters us in subtle ways. Yet we persist in believing that violence can be averted. We have accepted the risks of gun ownership over the risks of despotic government.
It is natural to search for someone or something to blame in our effort to ease the pain and grief we share with the victims, families, first responders and the Aurora community. But I hope that, for now, we are able to put aside that inclination to shift the pain. Let us do what we can - hope, pray, gift or whatever positive contribution we can imagine, and trust that the process will deliver justice in its due course.
We all wish to create an America where tragedies such as this are prevented, that is a worthy and admirable burden for us each to shoulder.
Frank Daniels III, part owner of The Pilot and cousin of Pilot Publisher David Woronoff, is the community engagement editor of The Nashville Tennessean. Contact him at email@example.com.
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