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Flags at Half Mast... (again)


I'll admit that I don't watch news very much and sometimes that gets me in trouble. It wasn't until late Monday evening when I first heard about the Boston Marathon tragedy. My first reaction was anger. Anger over how people go out of their way to try to find new methods of creating and causing others pain. It's for this very reason that I abstain from most news networks. It seems to me, that the networks have created a blood sport of taking an already terrible event and frothing it up to heightened misery.

So, today as I drive toward my office, I see flags flying at half mast. So sad to know that just last December –only a measly four and a half months ago- they were doing the same; mourning over the murder of children in their elementary classrooms. Whether organized by terrorists, or a sole person looking for ways to express malicious intent, it seems that there has been an increase of individuals obsessed with causing pain and death.

In some regard, I even believe some of these perpetrators are totally sane in the sense that these people have deliberately chosen (for whatever reason) to voluntarily cause pain and suffering to others. Technically, there really isn't anything “in-sane” about them; except perhaps, for this very conscious decision to inflict harm.

I guess the culmination of this story for me has been to read about eight-year-old Martin Richard’s death in the Boston bombing. Merely reading the headline caused me to break down and cry. I thought of my own daughter at that instant. I cannot even begin to imagine what the victims of the Boston tragedy have experienced. Nor can I imagine the families that are still suffering from the Sandy Hook tragedy.

My heart goes out to them all. In times like these, I try to focus on forward momentum and pulling through. Instead of a society obsessed with death and destruction, I like to believe that the majority of us are individuals that are obsessed with life, humanity and hope. Without making these our obsessions, how could we ever manage to make it through our own personal heartaches let alone the grief of a nation?

Some of us who are sensitive and empathetic to the pain of others can't help but be numb and paralyzed in an effort to try to make sense of it all. Simply put: There isn't any sense to it. Tragedy never makes any sense.

What does make sense is our ability to move forward, to move through pain and to help others do the same. Whether it is donating your time, money or supplies; or providing prayer and sending goodwill; or (as in my case) writing about your pain in an effort to help others manage theirs, your actions matter. They are humanity’s attempt at moving forward after getting through this pain.

I refuse to focus on death and destruction. It has always been here, and here it will always remain. Instead I choose to focus my efforts on life, on hope, on encouraging others to grow and enjoy what little time we have on this tiny planet.

Never forgetting those that have passed on before us but carrying with us all the life, hope, and humanity that they represented forward for the next generation. It is in striving to move forward that we build a society of good, of love, of life and that we learn the appreciation of all that these traits can bring.

John Aaron Villarreal

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