EDITOR’S BLOG — What is one to say after the worst school shooting in history? And on the very same day, the worst bombings in Iraq to date? … I continued publishing positive news even though I felt like an imposter. Like other artists, whose creations feed the soul rather than providing benefits in outwardly practical ways, I felt an inadequacy and uselessness in the wake of the tragedy. Then I remembered the days after 9/11, when I confided to my ten-year-old boy that maybe sharing the good news was pointless in these horrific times. He countered, "Good news is more important than EVER!"
Although I’m unable to see it without hindsight, people do want good news in times of terrible pain. The biggest spike in my traffic was September 12, 2001, and last week after the shootings GNN served more pages in a single day than it ever has.
Talk shows were discussing the notion of bad news. On The View, guest host Aisha Taylor said, "There’s so much negative news out there that people are obsessed with things that mean nothing…" Ellen DeGeneres says she hates when people call and leave bad news on her answering machine, "Hey Ellen! Did you hear…" She said there’s enough bad news for her, tell her some good news!
So here’s what I’d tell her:
A father and son who lost their daughter (or sister) in the Columbine school shootings have been dedicating themselves to spreading the word in high school gymnasiums throughout America that only through fostering "an atmosphere of genuine kindness" toward other students can we effectively prevent school shootings. Their organization is called Rachel’s Challenge, and the young man, Craig, who saw his sister gunned down, spoke on Oprah last week about the need to offer fellow students who are alone and angry, a "heart connection to bring him back to human touch."
A similar message was broadcast on YouTube last week and viewed a half million times: A girl, who survived the school massacre in Paducah, Kentucky, talks from her wheelchair about how we’ve already got a powerful solution to the violence in the way that we treat people. She carries absolutely no malice for the boy who opened fire on her and her friends and is a tremendous spokesperson. She’s got a happy life, charged with purpose, a new husband and a baby on the way — even though paralyzed from the chest down. (full story)
A third piece of good news: Doing something to bring peace, hundreds of women from 30 countries cycled together around the Middle East in the third annual "Follow the Women – Women for Peace" ride. The roads were lined with crowds cheering; British and Iranian riders became buddies; and among the Palestinians was 24-year-old Lena, the daughter of Yasser Arafat. Stereotypes were left behind: One Lebanese woman said, "The Iranian girls surprised me. They are so smart and gorgeous." Most of the Western cyclists were shocked to learn the Middle East is not what it seems to be in the media! (full story)
I think all of us are like that. We have hope there’s good out there and yet, are always surprised to find it where we least expect it… Until next week, good bless…