Sunday, February 17

Close to Home

I try to keep this blog as exclusive to knitting as possible, mostly to spare people my usually pointless rambling but also because I am a very private person. But lately I really feel like I can’t keep ignoring things going on around me.

Two recent national (world?) news headlines have occurred within the area I call home during the last month. The shootings at the Lane Bryant store in Tinley Park, IL and the shootings at NIU last week.

The mall area around the Lane Bryant store is new within the last few years, and I have only been there once or twice. My parents go there frequently, since there is a brand new Super Target, Best Buy, and Michael’s Crafts, among other things.

My Mom told me today that she hasn’t been able to go back to the mall yet. I know it’s not fear – but a sense of reality that is too hard to face. My Dad said that as he drove by on his way home from work he could see that they still had a cop car guarding the scene. That would be way too much reality for me.

As for NIU, I’m sure there is not much I can say that hasn’t already been said. Having spent many hours of my life on different campuses, it is sad to stop and wonder “what if” about a scenario that is be so outrageous it should be in a horror movie.

So much for “it could never happen here”.

One final incident, that isn’t related to these in reality but is connected in my head, is an article I read on the Chicago Tribune’s website about an overnight fire in one of the few remaining public housing (low income) building in Chicago. The article explained how the fire occurred during the night (2:30am) and could have been deadly if passing police officers hadn’t noticed the blaze, woken people up, and helped those trapped on the wrong side of a stairwell. They helped everyone in danger, including a few children, escape safely. To me, it was a feel good article with a happy ending and few nice photos of the kids being carried to safety. I made the rookie mistake of clicking on the comments link at the end of the article and was blindsided by a litany of nasty things like “too bad they didn’t all burn”, “why would they waste money on a candle if they live in the projects”, to comments so cruel they made me slightly nauseous read.

Since when do other human being have to be deemed worthy of our compassion? How can children escaping from a fire cause so much hate? Do people even try to put themselves in another's shoes anymore?

In my head, the comments explain why these mass murders can occur. Many people seem to value nothing but themselves, or have been so tormented by society that they feel there is no other option for them.

Just my two cents, of course. Take it or leave it.

P.S. Expressing this opinion in another forum got me called a "bleeding-heart liberal". I think that just emphasizes my point.

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