Based on the amount of traffic I’m seeing about the tragedy in Connecticut yesterday, I’m reasonably certain the fallout from this event is not going to soon subside. In fact I’m wondering if, now that the election is over, all the energy that had gone into finding ways to communicate and share in order to affect the outcome of the November contests isn’t looking for another avenue to express itself. We’ll see.
There’s one particular aspect of this tragedy that struck me recently and I wanted to quickly share my feelings about it. It has nothing to do with guns and violence, but it definitely has to do with death and loss. A Facebook (and real life) friend of mine shared this article from the New York Times and, in a comment later, said the following: “Ordinary people are much more courageous than we give them credit for being.”
This reminded me of something that has long intrigued me. I’m curious to know if others have felt the same. I have been to quite a few funerals or memorial services in my life for people I either didn’t know at all or knew very superficially. These include members of my wife’s family, spouses of co-workers, employees at a favorite venue, etc.
One of the things that stands out in my recollection of those experiences is the feeling I always got that I had missed something; that a special person had slipped through my fingers and now I would be forever barred from appreciating their existence and the particular light they shone out into the world.
Now, I know I can’t possibly get to know everyone, yet listening to friends, family, and co-workers reminisce and reflect on the life of the person for whom we were gathered together in memory of, always seemed to leave me with a feeling of incompleteness, of having missed something wonderful and extraordinary.
I’m of the opinion there’s no such thing as an ordinary person.
So many dead. So many children. I am numb . . . and I can’t wait to see my kids when I pick them up from school today. I’m also a gun owner. I am not, however, so numb I can’t recognize a need to address the issue of gun control. We treat these occurrences like we treat earthquakes; as if they’re natural disasters and, with the exception of securing loose objects and having some emergency supplies at the ready, there’s nothing we can do about ’em.
We seem to face a choice; either arm everyone – including the children – or come up with rational policies that keep guns out of the hands of those who have no business possessing them. I’m kind of thinking the latter would be easier, cheaper, and more humane . . . not to mention rational.
I didn’t do a comparison of the populations of all six other countries listed, but we can look at one – Canada. With these numbers (assuming them to be accurate) the U.S. population would have to be 47 times that of Canada. Actually, the population of the U.S. is 9 times greater than that of Canada so, were all things reasonably equal, we could expect a gun murder rate of approximately 1800 people, less than 1/5 of what it actually is. That’s got to be pretty strong evidence of some kind of fundamental problem. Don’t you think?
I retired nearly 13 years ago, though I've continued to work during most of the time since then. I'm hoping to return to work on the RS-25 rocket engine program (formerly the SSME) which will power our return to the moon. Mostly I'm just cruising, making the most of what time I have remaining.
Although my time is nearly up, I still care deeply about the kind of world I'll be leaving to those who follow me and, to that end, I am devoted to seeing the forces of repression and authoritarianism are at least held at bay, if not crushed out of existence.
I write about things that interest me and, as an eclectic soul, my interests run the gamut from science to spirituality, governance to economics, art and engineering. I'm hopeful one day my children will read what I've left behind.
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