EDITORIAL: Keeping calm in face of tragedy

Searching for the good after a series of tragic events

News on the street lately has been pretty grim.

Twelve people shot to death in a Colorado movie theatre Thursday night.

Two people, including a 14-year-old girl, killed at a Toronto house party, just weeks after two died in a shooting at the same city’s Eaton Centre mall.

Closer to home, four people – including three from the same family – died after a mudslide swept through Johnson’s Landing in rural B.C. July 12.

Thursday, a young German Shepherd died after being left in a Vancouver dumpster.

And Friday morning, police confirmed the body of a young woman was found near the Nicomekl River in South Surrey.

The tragic and heart-wrenching – and, sadly, incomplete – list is enough to make one’s head spin; to make some question what is going on in the world, in their community and even in their neighbour’s backyard.

It may even give some pause; hesitation to do things – like go to a new movie, for example – that normally would be done without a second thought, for fear of being added to that ugly list.

Tragedy, we know, is not a new thing. It is seen, heard, photographed, shared, tweeted, debated and what-have-you every day. It can be accidental or the result of incomprehensible intent. It leads to front-page newspaper stories, headlined television broadcasts, based-on-fact movies and best-selling biographies.

Sometimes, tragedy will beget tragedy – a family member distraught by the death of a loved one decides to take one’s own life; friends angered by the shooting death of a close pal take justice into their own hands, triggering further violence, loss and grief.

But, amidst all the pain and anger and frustration of the senselessness, should we stop living our daily lives? It may seem like a good idea, at least in the blurred aftermath. After all, no one person or community is immune to senseless tragedy. Why not lower the odds where possible?

To say that taking that stance would be a greater tragedy than all the deaths of recent days would sound ridiculous. But there’s no question that actually taking that stance would only compound what has happened.

It would show those who perpetuate such acts that they are indeed powerful. It would teach our children to be afraid, and there is nothing to gain from that.

There may not be any good in what has happened of late.

But why make it worse?