Bring your town together

By Sanford "Sandy" Wilbur of Gresham, Oregon. Sandy is a wildlife biologist and historian, living in Oregon since 1980. Sandy regularily writes on social and political issues at Condor Tales.

I'm angry and frustrated (even more than usual) about the media coverage of the recent firearms carnage at the college in Roseburg, Oregon. For three weeks now, we have had our daily story about how the "incident" has drawn the people of the town together. They have prayer meetings, wear t-shirts with togetherness messages, and raise money to help the families with dead or injured members. The theme is clear: we are on the mend. Really? If all I had to go by were the local newscasts, I'd begin to think that Roseburg thought that this was the best thing that ever happened to them. Try it in your town: you'll love the togetherness that results!

I understand the need to cope - to make the best of the situation - to "move on." No doubt the community events do help somewhat. But is this really the best we can do when our friends and family members are senselessly murdered in what should be one of the safest havens available? Will t-shirts and prayers really bring healing to the families most affected? And will they do anything at all to prevent the next community from having to go through the same losses and trauma?

Two post-massacre images come to my mind. The first is the local proposal to "increase security" at the college. Really? I suspect the odds of a similar attack occurring at that particular venue are like a billion to one, maybe two billion to one. No, some other community will be the beneficiary of the next "community building" event.

The second image is of the compassionate citizens of Roseburg lined up along the highway as President Obama came to town to offer his sympathy. Their "welcome" included jeering and waving of signs with slogans like "You can't have our guns," and "Respect the Second Amendment." Talk about healing!

I repeat: is this really the best we can do?

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