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15/12/2012 / Hackett

On Tragedy: It Shall Not Define Us

Now Playing: Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

Words are damn near impossible to come by at a time like this. The ironic thing is, it’s because there’s a flurry of emotions and there are so many of them it creates a logjam trying to force their way out. I’m going to try and put them together in some sort of rational order.

Today our nation, our world, suffered an horrific tragedy of unspeakable proportions. We lost many people, children at that, whom could have been the shining minds of the future. It’s the kind of thing that leaves people in absolute shock and disbelief that a human could have such disregard, contempt even, for human life. It also leads to quick judgements, snap reactions, and hyperbolic proclamations about the state and future of our world.
Many of the comments lament the world as “doomed”, “hopeless”, “completely fucked”, and “utterly sick”. I know that atrocities like this one make it seem that way, but in an effort to want to continue living on this planet, I want to disspell those sentiments, as I know it cannot be that bleak.
This world is a beautiful world. It’s a beautiful world filled with beautiful people who do wonderful things every day. Take, for instance, the gift from National Football League’s LaMarr Woodley to the community in which he was raised. He donated $60,000 so that kids wouldn’t have to pay to participate in extracurricular sports. See also the enormous $10,000 anonymous donation made to a Texas family trying to raise money for a service dog to assist their autistic son. There’s also the story of a family close to me that was selected by the Make-A-Wish Foundation to have their youngest daughter’s wish granted. It involved flying her and the family to California, putting them up for a week, and taking them to a taping and backstage to meet the stars of her favorite sitcom. The family, which is relatively well-to-do, offered to pay for their trip and lodging, and just wanted the foundation to facilitate the celebrity meet and greet. The Make-A-Wish people vehemently denied, saying that’s not how it worked, and footed the entire bill. The family now makes a sizable annual donation as a thank you and in the hopes that they can do the same for someone else.
Recently, much of the eastern seaboard of the United States was devastated by a hurricane, and the way strangers have come together to assist each other in rebuilding their lives is nothing short of heroic.
I have also been the recipient of humanity’s gracious and compassionate ways. One cold, winter day as I was cursing and battling with a flat tire in my parking lot, a nice gentleman came and asked if I needed assistance. I had it relatively under control, but thanked him. He then told me he was the proprietor of the hot dog stand across the street, and I was welcome to come wash up in his kitchen when I was finished. If that wasn’t enough, he also gave me a meal, free of charge. I was speechless at this gesture and have patronized his establishment frequently ever since.
My childhood was also affected by the selflessness of heroes. I was burned in a fire at the young age of two, and have lived with the physical and emotional scars ever since. One of the things that helped me cope was the Burn Camp, put on by the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance. Held every summer, it’s a week-long camp provided free for burn survivors funded solely by donations. The camp is staffed by firefighters and medical personnel that do so at the expense of a week of their personal vacation time. You can’t even imagine what this does for kids that are mocked, shunned, and bullied just because they look a little different.
You see, this world has a whole lot of incredible people who do incredible things. Unfortunately, they don’t always get the same press and public attention that the purveyors of crime and hatred do. Therein lies our opportunity, fellow humans. I have a good feeling anyone who finds my blog is at least a relatively good person, and does good things on a regular basis. I implore you, continue doing these things. Encourage others to do good things. Donate your money, your time, your love. Listen to those in need. Reassure those of us who still believe in the good in humanity, and give the rest a reason to not leave our species for dead. Do not let our country, our continent, our world be defined by tragedies such as this, but rather let us make our mark by how we respond in a beautiful and humane way to such heinous crimes. I believe our souls are good and full of love, and you should too.
Much love.


Leave a Comment
  1. slaky311 / Dec 15 2012 13:10

    Nice work Hackett.

    • Hackett / Dec 15 2012 16:28

      Thanks Slaky. I raise a Malört to you.

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