Editorial 2.1.13: Strength in reflection during sobering moments

Nearly every week, this page is dedicated to reform: what we’d like to see, what we’re glad to see and what we hope will change.

But sometimes, it is necessary to adjust our focus to the present, and to take time to reflect.

As students, our attention is on our studies, jobs, coursework, friends and becoming gainfully employed one day. And that’s how it should be. That’s what college is about. Which is why, when someone shatters that, even if it didn’t happen close to home, it shakes the entire foundation.

It takes a safe, unassuming environment and makes it ugly and dangerous. It spawns fear and distrust, which spreads like a wildfire with each and every incident. It’s not just dark alleys that people fear now; it’s places of worship, movie theaters, malls and schools.

The six weeks we were away on winter break, there was plenty of bad news around the nation. Just days after finals ended, the Newtown, Ct., shooting of 20 young students and six educators stunned the world.

Since that horrific event, several more public shootings have been reported, including one just this week in Atlanta.

A constant barrage of tragic news threatens to leave some of us desensitized, others terrified to leave their home and others still believing some criminals have a kind of glory attached to their names.

The victims of these incidents are not solely the dead. They are the families, the friends, and at some level, an entire culture. A culture that once felt safe, before a particularly deadly year ruined that.

Perhaps the rest of 2013 will be quiet. A sense of calm normalcy will set in, and life will bumble along as usual. It will, and it does, because there is no other choice. But there is no way to know what will happen next or where the next tragedy will strike, whether it be gun violence or a natural disaster.

If there is anything to gain from painful news and sobering events, it is a fact that everyone knows but rarely understands; life is fragile. We are reminded of that when we watch the news, attend a funeral or lose someone far too soon.

But even then, we move on. We go to the movies and attend school, and carry on living. Not to forget, but to live, because that’s why we’re here in the first place.