The VA Tech Shootings and the Need for Good News

The VA Tech Shootings and the Need for Good News

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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…

COMMENTS

  1. Thank you so much for this website! I wish I had found it sooner. It helps to know that there is good in the world when the worst is going on. in my opinion, you are performing a valuable service. I was thinking about starting my own good news blog when I found this website. That is great news!

  2. My friend linked me to this site after I told her about another friend’s friend who started a good news only radio program (not sure if it is still on, but it was in CA). Anyway, she linked me to this site which I instantly saved as a favorite. After days of logging on to my computer and seeing the face of the VA shooter and the article headers to the bombings, I thought, I have got to make GNN my home page. I need to be greeted with a smile and then I can prep for the negative. So thank you, thank you for this lovely site.

    It is so refreshing to read pages after pages of happy news and information that talks/discusses how we can find the positive in negative situations.

    Much happiness, and kudos to your enlightened 10 year old. 🙂

  3. The human spirit thrives on good and is damaged by evil. We need to focus on what is good in life to lift our spirits, even through the tough times of life. That is why you received so many hits after the recent senseless tragedy. People know instinctively that they need to hear something good at those times.
    It is about time that the newspapers and the media in general started to balance the “facts” of the day with some of the uplifting things that go on in our world. If people would start contacting the radio, TV and newspapers to let them know they are sick of sensationalized, lopsided news reporting, perhaps we can make a change in how people see the world. If someone is in a depressed state and all they see every day is reports of crime, violence, and bad news, how can they be lifted up?
    I gave up watching news shows about ten years ago because I got so sick of hearing about the evil in the world. It is not a true picture of all that goes on. People have said, “you have to know what is going on in the world. Believe me, if it is really important, someone WILL tell you. I go to the Internet and based on headlines only, choose what stories I will let into my head. The old saying of “garbage in; garbage out” is also true with people. Eliminate as much garbage as possible.
    St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians 4:8-9 says it the best. “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.” God Bless your Good News Network – it is my home page.
    Thank you for doing this.

  4. I came here specifically because of the shootings. I wouldn’t be surprised if your server logs show a little spike around then. I loved the fact that such a site existed, to only show good news, that wasn’t just sappy or trying to proselytize a certain religion. I immediately bookmarked it and showed it to my friends and they were cheered up.

    I’m kind of annoyed that you are even mentioning the bad news now. I want a place that doesn’t even mention it. I was expecting to read about Hawking’s zero-g flight today.

  5. Jon,

    Thanks for registering so you could comment. That is really interesting and confirms the inference I made.

    I take pride that my site has ONLY the best most compelling stories. Other sites post stories like “Anthony Hopkins gets role in new film” and stuff like that. I take care to protect your time, and only post stuff that is pretty moving.

    I’m sorry some are irritated by the focus on the bad news over the last week or two. But I think to post the positive found in the negative is very instructive.

    In this instance, it was a weekly column for other media, that I had finished and needed to archive on the site. (Which is also why I posted the YouTube of the shooting victim from 1997 incident, because I referred to it in the column and needed to provide a link.

    Thanks everyone for your comments. It has been a hard week for me because there hare a lot of technical issues with the site and newsletter that are hampering me and frustrating me immensely. (The newsletter is suspended until I can get issues resolved — only one of which is the fact that some frickin spam companies have tagged me as a spammer! Lord-ie help me!)

  6. Every morning I get online and read my local paper, CNN and MSNBC. Then I sit a moment, sigh a deep sigh over all the sad news then finish the “news hour” with this site to remind me that there is still good out there.

    Thank you for this site. It’s theraputic.

  7. I found your site after reading a magazine article about this very idea. I too, shun everyday news for its focus on tragedy and horror. We need sites like yours to remind us of how postive actions, even small ones, do affect the world around us. I enjoy the insight and inspiration provided by items like the Kentucy shooting survivor and her quest to make us all pay a little more attention to our own actions. A little kindness today may save a future lost soul tomorrow. Keep up the great stories!

  8. I agree with other participants. Many people would benefit from rethinking their priorities and reframing their idea of the news. So many people simply accept what a broadcaster desribes as the “news.” Why is it that so many people believe networks such as CNN and the nature of their broadcast even deserves attention? If people did a complete “about face” and stopped watching that kind of thing, then the companies wouldn’t pay so much money to advertise during presentations of violence and the networks would be forced to change their slant. The bias toward conflict exists because people watch it and advertisers will pay to support it. Change your media choices and you can begin to change the world your way.

  9. I found your site and am so happy I did! You really do a great job of covering a variety of topics. I love the links to other sites where I can read more about the story if I want. I sent out your link to several friends and will post it on my blog…deepromanticboy.blogspot.com.

    Thanks!