Dealing With Tragedy

Shortly before noon on Monday, August 1, 1966, Charles Joseph Whitman began his shooting rampage from the clock tower of the University of Texas.  Having killed his wife and Mother the night before, he went on to shoot 49 people that day over a 96-minute period.  The death toll of 18 included an unborn baby, the shooter and David Gunby who died in 2001 from complications of being shot that day.  The events that day spawned the creation of S.W.A.T. teams in many police departments throughout the United States.  Classes at the University were canceled the next day but resumed on Wednesday.

On March 6, 1978, an unknown shooter gunned down two men in Lawrenceville, Georgia.  The location of the shooting was a mile from Central Gwinnett High School where the daughter of one of the men attended school.  That same man was very well-known, loved and respected by the people of Lawrenceville.  Although it was more than two hours until the end of the school day, the school remained open.

At 11:39 a.m. on the morning of January 28, 1986, all eyes were on the TV for the launch of the Challenger Space Shuttle.  An earlier contest had been held to pick “A Teacher in Space” to join the crew.   High School Social Studies teacher, Christa McAuliffe was chosen.  Excitement turned to horror as the shuttle exploded 73 seconds after lift-off, killing all on board.  The TV’s in schools across America were turned off and classes resumed.

April 19, 1995 – Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City
April 20, 1999 – Columbine High School
September 11, 2001…  Need I say more?

What happened after each of these tragedies?  We sucked it up.  We mourned, but we continued because we are adults and we don’t get to “escape” when we are sad.

After the election last November, I have seen news reports of crying college students demanding a “timeout” (some were found to have not even registered to vote), the appearance of “#NotMyPresident” and other forms of protest.  Grow up, people!  Trump will be your President regardless of what you Tweet!  For 8 years, I was told that we need to come together for the good of our nation.  Why can’t we keep doing that?  You don’t have to like him or agree with him, but can we all try to get along?  For the next 4 years, Trump will be President.  If you aren’t happy about it, instead of crying and whining, what can you do to help your “cause”?  Hint:  the answer isn’t protesting.  If you think he’s a racist, make sure you don’t do anything nor tolerate any other people’s behavior that could be deemed as racist.  Don’t tell (or laugh at) a racist joke.  If you think he hates women, same thing.  Don’t participate in anything that degrades women.  Start a support group.  Hire a minority.  Volunteer.  Donate.  Talk with somebody who supports Trump.  You both might learn something and even if neither of y’all changes your mind, maybe y’all can understand each other better.  And if you don’t alienate non-like-minded people, maybe you can swap their views during the next 4 years.

And as Jerry Springer would say, “Take care of yourself (dramatic pause) and each other.”