Jan 23, 2012; State College, PA, USA; Community members during a candle light vigil passing respect to the passing of former Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno in front of Old Main. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Reacting to Tragedy

This is not an article about the recent tragedy in Connecticut, but it also is.  This is not an article about political views, but it also is.  This is not an article about dealing with pain, but it also is.

We live in strange but wonderful times.  We have technology that allows us to communicate across oceans in the blink of an eye.  We are able to fight horrible maladies like cancer and HIV.  More people can read and write now than ever before in the history of the world. But aside from all of our great wondrous achievements, we are still human beings.  We are the same species that condoned slavery; we are the same people that allowed the Holocaust to happen; we are the humans who crucified Christ and shot Martin Luther King.  We like to believe that we are a civilized and cultured people; that we are advanced and special.  But our DNA hasn’t changed much. We are human.

Humans always want to form tribes.  It’s actually a wonderful trait of the human race that we wish to be in a social structure with other people. Without this trait we could never have built the pyramids or eradicated smallpox.

But this tribal instinct works against us too. We want to form teams, we want to be on a “right” or “wrong” side.  Sometimes we form these “tribes” for fun and exciting reasons; Alabama fans and Auburn fans in the Iron Bowl, or Team USA and Team Canada in the Olympic Hockey finals.  But these tribes can also be easily turned against us in times of tragedy.  We want security, we want reassurance, we want safety, we want “our” people.  This tragedy could cause us to become even more split apart, to turn on one another.  Or we could realize that the enemy here is evil itself, and we could look to each other for support and love.

This tragedy could be used as a starting point for us to reanalyze ourselves and our families.  What’s really important, and what kind of legacy do we want to leave behind?  We all have a limited time on this earth, something that is made crystal clear on days like today.  I hope you will use every day for others, love your family as hard as you can, and smile as much as possible.

I know I speak for everyone here at BamaHammer when I say all of our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this awful act.  We won’t ever forget you.

your friend,


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