Finding Meaning In Tragedy

Tragedy struck last night at a movie theatre in Colorado. The search for answers has begun. The police will seek theirs, and as a society we will seek ours. But no answer will take away the tragedy, it is our nature to look for meaning though. I will tell you at the start that I have no answers. Only questions. But as I watched the news coverage I was concerned with how many people thought they did have the answers.

Guns, video games, not enough God. These are simple answers to complex questions. Often spoken by people who tend the have the same answer no matter what the question is. I watched people on the news trying to solve, and salve this situation before the next commercial. As I said, I have no answers, but I’m pretty sure that the answer is going to look a whole lot more like an epic novel than a Twitter post.

I live in Texas, it has a heavy gun culture. I am not a gun guy, though my father was a gun collector and I have family who collects as well. I love them, but I never understood the appeal. I never understood my father’s interest either, but then I never asked. So in an irony when he passed I inherited a gun collection.

My cousin Kevin is among the best people I know. You would not find anyone more willing to help if you were in a bind. That is true of a lot of people who love guns. One such person was a very good friend of Kevin’s. He was interested in buying some of my father’s guns. So one day I enjoyed an afternoon of shooting, and talking about guns. Kevin’s friend told me how he felt about them, and why. My cousin did the same. I learned a lot that day. I learned the complexity of the heart and the uniqueness of the individual. It didn’t really change my mind on much, except it changed my mind on everything. I’m still not a gun person. I think we are better off without them. Assault weapons in particular. But that experience taught me the power of a question and the value of an open mind to hear the answers.

My deepest thoughts (you could call them prayers) are with the family, friends and community of that small town in Colorado. That includes the shooter and his family as well. As I said, I don’t have the answers, but I don’t think it’s all one thing. I don’t think the answers will be easy. I only know that to find answers you must first ask questions. I think it helps if you ask the right ones; and then listen.

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Published in: on July 20, 2012 at 7:02 PM  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I wish more people felt the way you do about listening. I think it was Erma Bombeck who said we live in a world of super sophisticated communication, but we have a tragic lack of listeners… at least it was something like that.

    The whole thing is a nightmare. I hope as a country we can find peace amidst the maelstrom.

  2. Thanks Rob. I have a friend who’s email signature is
    “Maybe if we did a better job of listening,
    history wouldn’t have to repeat itself.” So true.

  3. Yes, this is so true. You are indeed insightful. Most difficult issues are complex and multifaceted. I believe if you have guns for “protection” then you are in fear and not in faith. You will draw the fear, the danger to you. Yet, I have known folks who hunt for their families food supply. I have no problem with this idea. I personally have no need for a gun. This event has been so very sad. My heart goes out to all those involved. I pray for healing. I pray for peace. I pray for understanding. I pray for love…….Thank you for listening!

  4. Wonderful post………I agree the answer, if there is one, is multi layered and complex ……. One of my theories is we carry genetic memory of our ancestors who struggled daily to survive…that tiny memory gets triggered and humans act or react without really knowing why. Maybe some of those who keep a gun feel safer and that genetic memory stays buried.


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