12 February 2007

Looking at the Face of Evil

There's been a major shooting in downtown SLC. See KSL news for more and updates. A calm, cold-blooded shooting, apparently.

I'm glad this doesn't happen very often in SLC. As the KSL newscasters on my radio just reminded me, the last major shooting in SLC was the Triad Center shooting in 1999.

I know that some people would avoid listening to "bad" news like this. I'm pretty sure Kami's getting annoyed with my listening to the radio. Not very uplifting, as she says. I'm sort of a news junkie (not as much as some), and people often complain to me about the nature of the stuff that comes through on the news. You hear this complaint all over the place: there's nothing good on the news anymore.

And I totally agree with them. It's hard to hear. It's depressing. It's evil.

But I think it's also important. Joseph Smith said we must seek not only the uplifting, but also "contemplate the darkest abyss" in order to know truth. All that is required for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. And we can't know what we should do unless we look the facts in the face. Good should not have to work from rumors and second hand information while evil unabashedly pursues gruesome reality. Yes, things are harsh, but we must not fear evil. We must be sober and quick to observe.

Also, to me, it's about being there with the people. It's a philosophy I gained from Louis Lowry's The Giver: terrible experiences become easier to bear when we share them with an entire community. The community in The Giver encapsulates all their painful memories into one person in order to keep their lives happy and carefree. When the painful memories are first released back into the community, it hurts. There's mass panic. But then there is discussion, there is comfort, there is calm. It is wrong to build walls around our mundane lives to keep out any word of hardship, tragedy, or evil. We are commanded by Christ to bear one another's burdens, and I for one believe listening to the news is part of that duty.


Paradox said...

I remember the months around 9-11 being some of the most frightening I've ever experienced. The fear, the speculation, the uncertainty was present in everyone, at every moment. I was only in the sixth grade at the time, but I was old enough to comprehend that my life would never be the same after that; it would forever be divided into "Before" and "After" for my generation.

But that was the point in time when I learned about patriotism. I remember having candlelight vigils at my karate school with my instructors; they would play "Proud to be an American" during the warm-ups for our classes, and all around me were hands waiting to catch those of us who could no longer handle the uncertainty and fear. I was able to experience, for the first time in my life, what a community is supposed to be, what it used to be, and how danger really does bring out the best in people.

And everyone else across our wounded nation reacted the same way... and I knew that because I watched the news. Everywhere, there were stories of adults and children doing their part to aid the victims, their families, and one another. From that, I gained a sense that, when it comes down to it, people are inclined to be compassionate; to mourn with those that mourn. I discovered that I was not only proud to be an American, but a member of the human race.

I do believe that the news can be a source of hope despite the message it may bear. It depends, however, on OUR reaction to it. It shouldn't take a tragedy like 9-11 to inspire the kind of community we experienced following the 9-11 attacks. If we chose to react that way all the time, the news wouldn't have to be a burden to us.

Those are my thoughts anyway.

Cathryn said...

I love what you guys are saying--I think we can say that trials bring us closer together.

Thanks for the sunshine. :)