Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The sun has set on yet another day. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end, just like every other day. But this is a day in the wake of yet another school shooting. Which makes it different...at least in some ways.

This was a school shooting at a college instead of a high school, with more victims than before. This one comes just days before the 8th anniversary of Columbine, the school that held people that I knew once upon a time, before I wondered who else might not live to see another sunset because they didn't make it home from school.

I was in high school eight years ago, amazed that anyone would ever come up with an idea as horrifying as shooting classmates. Today, I'm in college - again - and a little less amazed that someone could have such a horrifying idea. A little less amazed, but just as devastated for all the people involved.

One of the many things that seems to be a common thread among school shootings is that the one who holds the gun was - or at least felt like - an outsider or a loner, like they didn't fit in with the crowd. Does that make it okay for them to do something like shoot up a school? No. And does it mean that the people that the shot at deserved it? Absolutely not. It just means that it wouldn't hurt for people to be nicer to each other. Would someone offering a smile in the morning have changed anything? Probably not, in the same way that putting a band aid over a bullet hole doesn't solve the problem. But enough kind words might just keep the bullet hole from ending up there in the first place.

When the sun rises tomorrow, the tragedy will still have happened, and the grief of those involved every bit as painful as it was today. And there are no words to make any of it go away - if there were, they would have been said a million times over by now. But when the sun rises tomorrow, there will be another chance to be a little bit kinder. Because of the many things there are to be gleaned from something so horrible, one is that it never hurts to be a little bit kinder to people...because you never know when it could make all the difference.

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