The news is full of breaking information around the holiday season. There’s political information (moreso than usual because of the Mueller investigation and trade issues), sports stories, and human interest stories alike, all jockeying for our attention.
At this time, it’s easy to get “past” something as current events occur. This is especially true in terms of human tragedy, where many of us are geared to avoid focusing on misery. A new terror arises, and the old ones are, if not forgotten, put to the back of mind.
In light of that, I wanted to revisit four recent events which resulted in devastation to a recent American community, because the arguments over the dangerous conditions that Central American migrants are experiencing is quite reasonably dominating that segment of our news cycle.
The death toll from Hurricane Michael has risen to 43 according to the Tallahassee Democrat, dramatically up from the 18 reported back when it was at the center of the news cycle, and it is expected to rise higher. Even as the state and the cities fight over the form and direction of aid money, charities are still attempting to help.
The 12 shooting victims of the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks, California were the victims of a gunman who did not fit into one of the traditional profiles nor did he use weaponry that fit into traditional agendas. Not an Islamist, not a foreigner, not a fundamentalist, he was made the focus of the story and there is little conclusive evidence about his motive. He shouldn’t be the focus, though; his victims should be, and they deserve to be remembered, with their families given support.
The California wild fires last month were the deadliest on record, with the entire town of Paradise devastated. The fire is now out, and the search for the dead just concluded. There are 88 confirmed victims, with 196 people still unaccounted for. Again, charities are attempting to help.
Lastly, the effects of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting drew international attention in the ramp-up to the elections. Since then, though, they’ve fallen completely off of the radar, and they are likely to be noticed again only as the killer makes his court appearances. That tightly-knit Jewish community mostly lost many members and has not been financially devastated, but they should still be remembered. They, and innocent people like them, are why we should never set aside truth for political convenience and why we should never embrace reflexive hatred. When we do it merely emboldens the extremists. Instead, I’d prefer to offer the oft-decried “hope and prayers” for the victims there and their grieving families, and to stand up in favor of both honesty and our better natures.