I was skiing in Vail last week. The weather was Colorado perfect and the conditions just right for Corduroy Ted. I have that moniker because the old guy avoids bumps and stays on the freshly groomed slopes these days. I had the wonderful company of my nephew, Paul and his wife, Tania.
When we got back to the house, we found out that a good friend and neighbor had been involved in a rather horrific ski accident. Her femur was smashed and jammed into her pelvis. Not even the renowned orthopods in Vail could help her. She was on her way to Denver in the back of an ambulance.
Word spread quickly and the support group fell into place. Kids were picked up at school, dinners were made and beds were found. Everyone pitched in. I imagine the same type of actions took place in Tucson over the weekend. Many of the endings were not so happy.
Kathy and I had lived in Arizona for a number of years. I can easily picture the shopping center. The people. Basically simple sorts, just trying to find some sunshine and live a nice life. Incredibly, the heroes disarming the madman ranged from a college student to a grandmother.
It was almost surreal the way the group subdued the deranged killer,quickly went to the aid of the wounded and consoled the families of the dead. A judge, a husband, a sweet little girl. All so tragic.
There was a doctor and his wife who were just going to the store. She was a nurse and they immediately went to work. Calmly and quietly. It seemed the media of all kinds wanted to make something more of the story. These people just wanted to start the business of healing.
Tucson is a sleepy town. The University of Arizona is about the only thing going on and that is just fine with the locals. The political bent of most college towns is not really that evident here. Just simple folk. Like Oklahoma City. Like Fort Hood. Like Columbine.
The reactions are so similar. Do away with guns. Let’s try to explain away the insanity on some political faction. Why didn’t anyone do something about this dude? Why don’t we lock people up? Why? Why?
We want our rights but get so upset when someone abuses them. That is part of the whole concept. Inherant in the privilege is responsibility. We want to blame someone. Anyone. I say look in the mirror.
I have friends who are hunters. I get it. But if you have ever picked up an UZI, shot an M16 on full automatic or watched the havoc wrought by twin 50 caliber machine guns,you get the difference. There is no correlation between a target pistol and a Glock semiautomatic with an expanded magazine holding several dozen bullets. None.
This was an act of a very sick person. Lock him up, you say. But where? We have cut spending on mental health. Shut down hospitals. Put people on the streets. We estimate 20-30% of the homeless here in Denver are mentally ill. They were discharged to our walkways and underpasses. They were left to their own designs. Yes, we so often look the other way. A lot of people in Tucson did. And they regret it.
The political rhetoric has toned down for today at least. I spent four hours watching different talk shows on TV. I listened to both the liberal and conservative. I just don’t think anyone gets it. Some were accusatory. Some were defensive. Why do we have this insatiable urge to be right all the time? No one wanted to give an inch.
For the record, I don’t think politics had anything to do with this tragedy. But that does not exonerate any of us. The level of discourse these days is plain old out of hand. Not just politics but everyday life. We tune into radio and TV or print matter that backs up our particular view of the universe. Kind of like preaching to the choir. Don’t even want to consider the other side.
When you live in a small town you know everyone. I think it increases the responsibility of all. Our world today increasingly revolves around cyberspace as our neighborhood. I can twitter, blog, decry and do it all under the veil of a tough to discover address. In an effort to communicate better and faster, I think we get farther and farther away from each other.
It takes a village. That village can be a state or a nation or the world. We are all part of it. Don’t duck. Stand up and bear the responsibility of all that freedom entails. Get out from behind that desk. Get off the couch.Take a walk in your village. Get involved. Help someone heal.
Ted The Great
There are approximately 308 million people in the U.S There are 285 million guns.
Approx.20% of the population suffers from some sort of mental illness at any given point in time. 30% seek help. Over 90% could be cured.
ThoughtfuL viewpoint! Check two articles in Origins(CNS) that resonate with some concerns you noted, particularly the notion of a ‘Village’ which I believe includes the idea of The Common Good . The articles are ‘Living the Virtues in a Time of Austerity by Archbishop Nichols, and ‘Caritas In Veritatae’in the US by Fr Kenn Himes OFM. Trust you and Kathy are well. Happy New Year! Paddy.
Thank you my friend. hope all is well
Was on the golf course today. Thought I saw Brennan on the Mooor aka O’D. Thought of you. Hope you are well
Ted and Kathy
Well said my friend!
George Will said it best on Sunday – “there are 308 million people in this country and some are just unhinged”!
I know we can’t stop these people without far too many walls. But we can take some of the pressure out of the balloon. Thx and thinking about you
Well said, Ted. As with the days and weeks after 9-11 and countless other times, I am struck by the goodness in people in the face of tragedy and suffering. It does take a village, but I wish it didn’t take tragedy to remind us.
Thx as always kiddo. It is really time we all get our act together…or at least me.
TTG…The shooting in Tucson…. We in Arizona are suffering…big time. I am the chaplain of womens’club here in Scottsdale and I have pondered for many hours what scripture reading I would use for tomorrow’s “inspiration”. I have held this post for three years and I have to say that this week has been the most challenging for me. Normally, I read a few verses from a single chapter of the Bible but tomorrow I will break with tradition and read a compilation that I have chosen to soothe my own heart….in hopes that it will soothe others. The scripture is much more militant than those that I normally select. I pray that my choice will be well received but there is a high likelihood that I will be asked to relinquish my role as chaplain. Please hold me in your thoughts at 10:00 Phoenix time tomorrow.
Here’s what I’ll present:
“Today’s scripture reading
is a compilation from the book of Proverbs: Chapters 6, 11, 20, and 28”
From the: New International Version of the Bible
There are things the LORD hates,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil, and a person who stirs up conflict
in the community. [Ch 6:16-19]
Do not say,
“I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”
Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you. [Chapter 20:11]
Be sure of this:
The wicked will not go unpunished, [Chapter 11:21]
Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder
will seek refuge in the grave;
let no one hold them back. [Chapter 28:17]
I am not exactly sure why they would vote you out. You are speaking your soul. That is more powerful and meaningful that playing by whatever rules. Good luck kiddo and let me know how it comes out. I will be thinking of you.
Never found out what happened ?
Very thoughtful, Padge
Nice to read first thing this morning -though, I believe, I may be a day late- but not a dollar short! ; )
xoxo your favorite daughter in law
Bonjour mon ami…not only did they not vote me out, I practically got a standing ‘O’. Previous chaplains always stuck to safe scriptures with no particular connection with the day’s events. Apparently, the group of mostly over-70 ladies like their boat rocked! Check out Isaiah 19:1-4,23-25 …that’s what I read the day before Mubarak stepped down.
I’m off to France this Tuesday…it is truffle season!