It’s become so common in our modern age to reflect on tragedies, sadly they almost become commonplace. Another shooter, another plane falls from the sky, another senseless attack in a faraway land. Life is fragile enough already without adding the chaos of a twisted mind. Yet despite the sadness (or maybe because of it) we seem to be overwhelmed sometimes by senseless tragedies.
As a nation, we come together in times of mourning and grief. Our leaders suspend their fighting and bickering for a few brief hours and say the words that have been carefully measured to show their compassion. The 24 hour news media spends a few hours with solemn music and well framed camera shots of slumped over little teddy bears and softly glowing candle lights. The only reminders about life going on are the occasional moments where Flo and the Lizard automatically come back to the screen harping about which will save more money on insurance.
Like a carefully rehearsed play, the next act soon follows. What made him do it? Why was it so random? Where are the answers that can help it all make sense? Who will help us ensure it never ever happens again? Politicians and members of the various think tanks come roaring out of hiding to add their voices to the chorus. At the end of the day though, the victims are still just as gone and the hungry media moves on to the next scandal or celebrity malfunction.
Is it a reflection of the news media driving the public or our own lack of the ability to absorb and maintain the grief we have just experienced that really drives us? I don’t know the answer. I have been on a roller coaster ride like so many other people and finally just shut everything off (including theleansubmariner for the past few days).
I am sorry for the loss of so many lives in such a tragic manner. I am sorry for the family of the man who committed the murders. I even have some sympathy for the person which lives in him while balancing that with my disgust at his actions and whatever demon within him that caused the act.
If everything goes according to plan, the whole story will be well wrapped up and relegated to a lower side column just in time for the Olympics. The every four year distraction must go on and people who care can all go about the business of discussing the drama and brilliance of the winners. I am sure there will be parades, and horns flashing and the glowing light of the Olympic flame as it triumphantly enters the arena. Tears of joy will appear for the victors as they hear their national anthems play. Tears of heartbreak will flow from the athletes eyes for having come so far and done so much only to achieve less than the best.
You will not see one thing for the tenth Olympics in a row: there will be no moment of silence and flags lowered to half staff to remember the Israeli athletes killed in the Munich games in 1972. The members of the Israeli team that were senselessly butchered by the Palestinian murderers while the inept Germans haplessly blew any chance of rescue. The memory of seeing the deaths occur in the flash of grenades on the tarmac should cause even the hardest heart to melt in sadness even after forty years. But it doesn’t.
The Olympic committee has once again proven their cowardice and for that, the games will remain just another showplace of hypocrisy. The phony talk about ideals and the international brotherhood are made even more ludicrous each time an Olympic official denies this simple recognition of the tragedy that marred the games forty years ago.
I stopped watching the Olympics after 1972. Maybe it was being on ships and far away from home that encouraged it. I had always enjoyed them before that time. But the brutality of the world was all too present in everything else and from that day in September, the Olympics just became another place where humans pretend to be better than they really are. The men who represent the Olympics showed their collective cowardice then and continue to do so now.
Don’t get me wrong. I admire the athletes and believe competition is healthy. I still see the good in individual people everywhere from their kindness after a tragedy to their forgiveness for my own reckless sins. But it is just possible that the committees that run large groups like colleges and athletic organizations can lose their collective souls along the way.
There is no forgiveness for that.
If you get a chance today, hug a nephew (or a niece) and tell them how much you really love them. You never know when you may lose that chance forever.
Rest in Peace Nick. I’ll see you again someday soon buddy.
Nicholas Anderson was only 16 years old when his life was senselessly taken by a drunk driver. He would have been 25 today if he had lived.