I was going to do my usual cheerleading. After all, it’s a beautiful time of year on our beautiful Midcoast. It still will be next week.
Let’s take a moment to talk about our nation’s latest unacceptable loss, a pair of mass shootings that together claimed at least 29 lives. So many at once, it reminded me of the Oct. 1, 2017 Las Vegas shootings and the Oct. 4 vigil First Congregational Church of Wiscasset held at the church steps. It drew attendees from as far as South Bristol. Pastor Josh Fittterling said what happened Oct. 1 wasn’t normal and, although it wasn’t a first, those incidents can’t be allowed to become normal. If we accept them as part of life, how will the world ever change, he asked.
What a good point, one worth remembering this week.
A year later, on Oct. 28, 2018, Fitterling brought up to the congregation and guests another mass killing, with 11 people slain and police and others injured at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. It was an act of hate, he said. The service fell a day after the killings, and the victims’ names weren’t all out yet so he planned to read them aloud the next week. Names honor people more than a number can, he said.
As with this week’s killings in Texas, authorities called the synagogue killings a hate crime.
People of or from our towns also showed support for victims of senseless, mass violence and the need to stand against it after the Patriot’s Day 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. They did it by running in the 2014 marathon. One of them, former Wiscasset resident and past top U.S. women’s finisher in the marathon Emily LeVan told us she hadn’t run in it since 2008. Another, Grace West, daughter of Wiscasset’s Greg Foster, was one of the thousands whose 2013 race ended when the bombs went off.
So West said she had unfinished business, to finish the race, and she and others interviewed said they wanted to honor Boston and show resilience to terrorism.
All of which made this a cheerleading piece after all. Not a “Yay, we have such fun things to do here, and the waterfront is captivating,” which we do, and which it is, but a “We in these towns make a point of acknowledging and honoring people lost to such acts, and a point of standing against those acts.”
It isn’t just here. After each of these crimes, people around the country do what they can, however they can, to show support for the victims, the families and the communities struck. If nothing else, these acts of humanity in the face of inhumanity accomplish what Fitterling suggested, to not let these crimes become normal, just part of life.
They are not that, and do not get to become that, as long as we and the rest of the country stand together against them.
To that end, we honor here those killed in the El Paso, Texas shootings, as listed at elpasotimes.com: Jordan Anchondo, Andre Anchondo, Arturo Benavidez, Javier Rodriguez, Sara Esther Regalado MorielRegalado Moriel, Adolfo Cerros Hernández, Gloria Irma Marquez, María Eugenia Legarreta Rothe, Ivan Manzano, Juan de Dios Velázquez Chairez, David Johnson, Leonardo Campos Jr., Maribel Campos (Loya), Angelina Silva Englisbee, Maria Flores, Raul Flores, Jorge Calvillo Garcia, Alexander Gerhard Hoffman, Luis Alfonzo Juarez, Elsa Mendoza de la Mora, Margie Reckard and Teresa Sanchez.
And those lost in the Dayton, Ohio shootings, as listed at abc7.com: Lois Oglesby, Megan Betts, Saeed Saleh, Derrick Fudge, Logan Turner, Nicholas Cumer, Thomas McNichols, Beatrice Warren-Curtis and Monica Brickhouse.