When I was having dinner with my sweetheart last night I found myself being pulled away to a couple of tragic events. There was a shooting rampage at Ft. Hood, Texas by a soldier who was being treated for signs of mental illness. I was especially shocked because I am a veteran and unfortunately Ft. Hood had experienced a similar tragedy not long ago.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan a policeman walked up to a car carrying two well-known journalists and shot them at close range. It sounded like an execution. One woman died on the spot while the other has somehow survived.
Meanwhile on Facebook there were deaths reported by two of my friends. They were less violent than the other two incidents by just as heart breaking. Each of us respond to grief and tragedy in our own way. President Obama has asked the nation to pray for the victims at Ft. Hood. And one of my Facebook friends asked for prayer for her relative. That is a common response for believers but not something I am prepared to honor. I am trying to understand the minds of the men who carried out the shootings. All too often, when one learns about a mass shooting, it was by a man. So why are men so violent? I warned a young man recently that I feared for his safety at the hands of other men.
I am still shaken by the beating death of a man I knew last year. I feel an obligation to take steps to warn the living that they may be at risk of violence and ask them to take steps to protect themselves. Because our behavior sometimes puts us at risk of murder which will cause our survivors to mourn for us. We don’t want to put our families through something like that. For non-believers like me who don’t pray, death is just as sad as it is for the believer. But we undergo a different mental process. Some people attend a lot of funerals or public remembrances. There are sessions where people create memorials for victims. One was recently created near my office. Sometimes, we carry the memory of our loved ones on our bodies. I was told that I bear a close resemblance to one of my uncles.
Many of us across the country are grieving because our hearts have been broken and we are using this time to heal. I invite you to use this story of death to enter into your own private process. Thank you.