Comparing Tragedies May Be Fruitless…Or Opportunity for Perspective

Comparing tragedies is taboo. But this is my blog. And the point of my blog is to examine aspects of life in NY after having lived in Israel for a bit. And this week’s tragedy feels like one of those aspects worth examining.

In the past month:

  1. Israel and Gaza were at war
  2. Hurricane Sandy blew through NY and NJ
  3. Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting

I can’t help but view these events in light of one another.

Hurricane Sandy was a natural disaster that more or less couldn’t have been avoided. The other two are man-made. And as complicated as the Middle East Conflict is – at least it has a story. There are reasons why people on both sides feel so strongly about the situation, whether justified or not.

Friday’s shooting has no defense or explanation. Not a single aspect of it. Friends of mine who are teachers (including my mom) are going to their jobs tomorrow, and will have to have some form of conversation with their students about the event.

I’m looking forward to hearing about it, because I think there can be an opportunity here for one of two conversations: one of healing, understanding, and peace – or one of anger, negativity and hostility.┬áThere’s no such thing as revenge or retaliation to be had. We need our teachers and legislators to be PEACE proponents here. We need strong leadership with a proactive agenda that seeks to understand and help – as opposed to blame and punish.

Having metal detectors installed in schools seems to be a band-aid, and a slippery one at that. Israelis are used to security measures at public places; I stopped noticing the guards at shopping malls and restaurants after awhile. I don’t want metal detectors to become so commonplace that they’re accepted as a fixture in our public spaces. The problem is larger than that, and requires a more sustainable solution.