This I Believe

James (Jim) - Electra, Texas
Entered on April 18, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: humanism
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(C)2007 by J.E.C. All rights reserved.


As I write this, more details of the massacre yesterday at Virginia Tech are being revealed. As is typical human behavior in these situations, there are already those who have forgotten the victims and are looking to place blame elsewhere than with the shooter.

No one could have predicted where or when something like this could happen again. We all knew that it could, and would, and will again. So, is there blame to spread around? Perhaps . . . but any public safety expert in the country will tell you it is impossible to prepare for every eventuality. All possible blame in this instance will be determined in the days and weeks to come, but right now the important thing should be concentrating on the victims, their families, and our own feelings.

I was raised in the 1960’s, those tumultuous years of triumph and tragedy. The images of those times run through my mind, like frames of the Zapruder film . . . John Kennedy’s Inauguration . . . The Cuban Missile Crisis . . . November 22, 1963 . . . the Watts Riots . . . Kent state . . . Jackson State . . . Vietnam . . . Civil rights . . . Nixon . . . protest marches . . . free love . . . Bobby Kennedy . . . Martin Luther King . . . Helter Skelter . . . Neil Armstrong on the moon . . . Watergate . . . the fall of Saigon . . . there was much to deal with in those years, much to come to terms with.

A friend mentioned to me last night that she was still trying to come to terms with what happened at Virginia Tech. I told her I was not sure that anyone ever did come to terms with something like that. How does one come to terms with it? I don’t know.

But I do know that I believe in good people. I believe in the resiliency of the human spirit. All throughout history, when tragedy has struck, people have risen above that tragedy to accomplish great things that no one would have believed possible.

In the aftermath of a tragedy like Columbine or Virginia Tech, each person must deal with their feelings privately, within themselves. It does sometimes help to talk to others but ultimately, the decision each person makes on how they will deal with a situation is made privately, in their individual heart, soul and mind.

Sometimes it certainly seems as if the world is lost and hopeless, but that is not so. I believe that good people can change the world, and I believe it starts individually. In this life, there will always be tragedies of one sort or another. I believe that all any single person can do is change their little corner of the world to make it a better place for themselves and those around them.