|Riley & Cassidy "playing around" after Band Camp concert|
SORROW & OUTRAGE
Last Monday night (June 12, 2017), c. 50,000 people jammed downtown Orlando for a Memorial service on the first anniversary of the Pulse shooting. In addition to the massive public remembrance, for the first time victims' families and survivors were allowed inside the fence for a private memorial service. I could only bear to watch a portion of the television coverage. Remembering is important but very painful. Before church last Sunday our organist rang the chimes 49 times. In a congregation known for chit-chatting through the organ prelude, you could have heard a pin drop. We may live 20 miles north, but this happened to US, to every one of us. When they talk about Orlando United, they mean all those who ring this city known round the world. The city that gets 68,000,000 visitors a year because of our theme parks, our nearby beaches, and our sporting events. (That's more than half the visitors to the state of Florida.)
And Homeland Security says we're "too small" to get extra government funding for security measures!
Of course any "extra measures" wouldn't have protected the people at a warehouse a block from my daughter's and son-in-law's former office in Winter Park. Five were killed this week in what's come to be known as a "workplace killing." That was followed by a similar shooting at a UPS facility in another party of the country. And then came the shooting on the baseball field in Virginia. A so-called "Democrat" targeting Republicans. I guess you'd have to call that one an "extremist political" killing.
And those are just this week!
What's gone wrong? How did this happen? Yes, we were brought up on Wild West movies and Space Operas, but we knew it was fiction.
Didn't we . . . ?
Actually, so many Westerns, old and new, had a moral to their story. They taught honor and courage and "doing the right thing." As did that most famous of space operas, Star Trek, with nearly every episode a morality tale.
So what happened? How did we fall so far so fast? To the point that hate and violence are tearing at the very fabric of the country we love.
I'd like to blame ISIS for slamming the world with mindless terrorism. Or do we blame the fanaticism of Medieval Crusaders who allegedly sparked ISIS's revenge? Then there's the utter depravity of Hitler and the holocaust. And those who want to blame all our woes on video games, or the National Rifle Association. Others decry too much permissiveness in the schools, too few teeth in our criminal justice system, and/or a general deterioration in manners for the loss of civility in government (and, let's face it, just about everywhere else).
And yet . . .
I look at the remarkable people who make up the congregation in my church each Sunday. And I go to events like Thursday night's Band Camp concert and view a room full of eager students and supportive parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, and uncles. I see REAL people, good people, and I know there's still hope. But the rhetoric has to be toned down. We have to be able to disagree without inflammatory language. Without hate. Without violence. Whether in the workplace, on the street, or in the halls of Congress, fanaticism and volatility have to go.
Running off at the mouth: OUT!
We have to live together, work together, agree to disagree in a civil manner. And we need those in power to lead the way, not shoot from the hip.
Enough said. The message is clear. Time to straighten up and fly right.
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