Friday, March 2, 2012

What can be said when words leave us?

Several blogs have been started and stopped all week. In light of yet another case of a gunman in a school, and the subsequent deaths of three innocent young men, I could not think of something to say. A few rants came to mind but nothing which has not yet already been said.  Where lays the blame, the faults or the shortcomings? Could we as a society have done something? The problem is…we have and we did.  

Intruder drills in schools, programs on bullying, government initiatives up the wazoo, counseling centers, gun registrations, metal detectors, in school services, out of school services, alternative school services, warning labels on products, parental controls on computers and TVs…..airbags, seatbelts, food content listings, pills for just about anything, free shots and ID cards…..what have we missed?  There are no real answers and no real solutions. At some point in time, it will happen again, no matter how much we try to prevent it, prepare for it or watch for it.

Some would say, this type of thing did not happen in my day! I would beg to differ. It probably did, only we did not hear about it when only three channels were on TV (heck, even before the invention of TV), when mail came by personal carrier, I could go on.   With the addition of so many labor saving and time saving devices, we have so much more “free time” that seems so occupied that stresses have filled voids once used to walk to the store, weed the garden, bike to a friend’s house, hunt frogs in the woods, write letters to pen pals.  Does anyone remember what a pen pal was?

I cried along with the parents and kids on TV Monday. I felt guilty and did not know why. I was glad my kids were no longer in high school.  I suppose someday we will know “why” this time, just like we got “whys” for all the previous incidents. If we changed to meet the reasons given, why did that not work this time? Rhetorical question, we won’t ever know and we won’t ever really be ready. We can pray. We can listen (not just hear….but listen). We can get involved. I should have last weekend or so I thought.

On a street corner in Toronto, I watched a young girl of about 16 screaming and ranting into her cell phone. She was hysterical about something which turned out to be that her boyfriend, who was to meet her on the corner, was on a different corner across the street and she could not find him. At the time, neither of us apparently knew he was so close. I watched the tears stream down her face and the panic overtake her to the point of shaking and flaying her arms about. Many, many people passed by her looking…was she on drugs I wondered, as she was a bit scary and perhaps violent.  She was thin and pale and very under dressed for the cold winds. On the same corner was a street preacher and his minions with microphone in hand preaching about God and helping others etc…yet here, not 15 feet away is a young girl obviously in need of some help and they were ignoring her, partially because she was upstaging their rally with her antics. One young man on a bike, much bigger than she, did stop and ask if she was okay. I watched that exchange carefully as natural maternal instinct kicked in. Finally, as I got up enough courage to approach her she bolted across four lanes of traffic towards a young man who was not much bigger than she.  I expected a joyful reunion. What I saw, and caught on camera, was a young woman who proceeded to almost physically assault this poor kid, screaming, yelling, flailing about, crying, hitting, swinging her bag around and on and on until they faded into the crowd. He never reacted, she went berserk.

What we think we know, what we think we see, how we think people will react, we can’t believe any of it. We will never understand what lies inside the mind of anyone else. We can’t predict, we can’t prevent and we can’t truly prepare for what we don’t know. We can pray however, anytime, anyplace, anywhere and for anybody. Some One somewhere is listening.

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