Thoughts on a tragedy

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I originally posted this on my Facebook, but wanted it on here as well. This is the first, and maybe only, draft, of some thoughts I had the night of the shootings at an elementary school in Connecticut:

I was trying to get to sleep tonight and I couldn’t. I couldn’t shake the news of the day.

I don’t have kids. Bessie and I decided some time ago that parenting wasn’t for us. We’re too selfish to give up that much of our lives. But we have nieces and nephews and cousins who we love very much, and we have friends who have kids, but I still can’t truly know the fear that a day like today must bring to a parent’s heart.

It’s probably inappropriate in some fashion to use the murder of children to address the growing rifts in our society, but I don’t think so. You may disagree … and that’s OK. That’s my point.

I have friends, on here and in “real life,” who just don’t see things the way I do. We all do, of course. That’s a good thing, actually, when we can take those differences of opinion as starting points to discuss our differences in rational ways.

You voted for that guy, I voted for this guy. My religious beliefs and moral values aren’t the same as your religious beliefs and moral values. I’m Coke, you’re Pepsi. Whatever.

The problem occurs when we allow our rage and grief and stress to devolve our conversation, be they in-person or online, to the point where we’re lobbing labels at one another like expletives. Conservative. Liberal. Socialist. Bible-thumper. Tree hugger. Gun nut.

I have friends who have posted things on their timeline, not just today but plenty of other days as well, which irritated me and aggravated me and in some cases straight up pissed me off. I have no doubt I’ve done the same. And yet we go on, and rather than have a dialogue, we simply keep sharing links and photos that we know someone’s going to hate.

When events occur like what happened in Newtown, CT, it’s really easy for us to separate ourselves into the staunch defenders of the 2nd Amendment and those who think our gun laws need to be changed. There’s almost certainly a subset, as well, who looks at the mental health issues involved and falls on one side of the fence or the other.

Wouldn’t it be nice, though, and perhaps in some small way a fitting tribute to 20 souls gone far, far too soon, if we talked about these issues instead of simply going to our corners and coming out swinging? I mean, seriously, we have this technology now that allows us to communicate with so many people, and we can’t get along? We can’t find common ground without things degenerating into the lowest common denominator?

My apologies for the length of this post, and my apologies if it doesn’t make much sense. My point, through all the meanderings, is this: life is too short, too precious, too awesome to allow petty differences to divide us.

Thanks for your time.

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