The eyes of the nation have been on Central New York this week as Kurt Myers ripped through the villages of Mohawk and Herkimer (a half hour drive from my house) with a shotgun, killing four and wounding two, plus killing one police dog. Lydia Dittrich, one of my newest congregants at Boonville Presbyterian, had this to say on Facebook:
I am probably going to be throwing gasoline on sparks here but I just have to say……
I am saddened and distraught at the loss of 4 lives today here in Central New York. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this, from the families left behind, to the parents anguishing over their children’s safety at school, to the law enforcement officers who wake up with a job to do praying today is not that day.
It is a difficult thing when tragedy hits you where you live. It makes fear surge to the front of all other emotions. Adrenaline surges and the defensive response of “I will do whatever it takes to protect what is mine” kicks into high gear. You want to do nothing more than hole up with your family and count each hair on their head until the storm passes. Next comes the wave of community reaction, outcry and grief at the loss of life in their back yard.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross is the definitive work on Grieving. There are five stages that each of us will go through as we begin to process and absorb the events of today’s attack in Herkimer NY. Denial (I can’t believe this is happening where I live), Anger (that sonofabitch ought to burn in hell for this), Bargaining (If only we could get those beloved people back, If only we could have prevented this–I would do anything), Despair (there is nothing I can do, and we failed) and Acceptance (it is terrible that tragedy has found us, but we are a community and we will come back stronger from this than ever before).
We all have different views on how the government and our communities will respond to this tragedy politically. Another strong reason for every person that can vote SHOULD vote…every election, every time.
My only request to my Facebook friends and family is that we accept each others’ points of view with grace on this topic. We don’t have to agree on it (how boring would life be if we did?) but the real crime in this tragedy will be the resulting social schism this senseless violence leaves behind if we stoop to word wars and status updates blasting the NRA, the government, our nations mental health system, the VA or any other entity that might be involved. Be KIND TO EACH OTHER and remember that everyone will respond to this in their own way, in their own time. Simply because we may disagree politically, does NOT mean it is worth hurting a friend that is still here.
To borrow my pastor’s favorite closing (thank you J. Barrett Lee)
I love you all, God loves you all, and there is NOTHING you can do about it. Be blessed, and be a blessing.
This community is going to need it.
Lydia and her family will be formally joining our church on Easter.