This morning delivered the news that someone was shot to death approximately two miles from my home. His name was not disclosed, and the event was reported before the weather and baseball scores, with the same amount of air time as they required.
To be sure, the loss of any life is sad news. My greater concern, however, is that such occasions have become so routine and common that we cease to notice or care.
Murders of high-profile, visible citizens are reported ad nauseum. We can easily recollect many, complete with ugly court scenes, declarations of innocence and so on. At the same time, we are inundated with news reports of those celebrities who have indulged in behaviors that compromise others such as sexual harassment.
Am I suggesting that we either shouldn’t report these crimes or that we should deliver extensive and detailed coverage of every murder? No, in both cases.
But somewhere we are falling short as a society if we fail to attach value to every life. Perhaps the news can be dispatched with the parenthetical of expressing condolences to the family involved for their loss. Maybe the answer is to humanize the victim – Mr. Blank was thirty-five years old, a resident of this city and is survived by a wife and two kids. He was a veteran who has been employed at the ABC Company as a pipefitter.
Let’s back up a bit. Without engaging in a second amendment debate, I wonder if it might be useful to add a note about the weapons involved. If this killing was the consequence of an illegally-secured handgun, it’s appropriate to say so. Let’s make it a social conscience lesson. Likewise, if the perpetrator was legally licensed for the possession of this weapon, so be it.
As one who will never get used to murders, I want to live in a society that is not blasé about them. My educating includes the message that all lives are special and important. We celebrate all holidays, birthdays and accomplishments. Don’t we send a conflicting message when we say “There was another shooting this morning in our town. The event took place at 2:00 am and the perpetrator is in custody.” Another life is lost. Refuse to be one of those who don’t care. Shalom.