Thursday, June 18, 2015

Damage Control

     It seems that the news is filled week after week with one atrocity after another.  The tragedy that took place in Charleston, SC yesterday was a slaughter, pure and simple, born out of resentment, paranoia and fear.  
     There will be some who will chalk it up to guns and their access across our country.  The war drum will be sounded as we choose sides.  Millions of law abiding gun owners being made to feel like anachronistic barbarians vs. the more highly evolved American.  All of it made more and more warped while the names of the victims are lost and trampled by politicians for the next year and a half.  They'll rile their teams up into a frenzy for every well positioned camera crew.
     There will be some who will point to racism stirring the pot, which it certainly seems to have from initial reports.  I would like to imagine by now that we don't have to pretend we live in a post racial world simply because we've had a black president.  Racism is alive and well in our great country.  I don't need to provide examples to prove my point.  It's born out by the need for the slogan "Black lives matter."  Why should we have to state the obvious unless it wasn't so obvious?  
     The larger underlying issue is one that makes me very uncomfortable to discuss, as it is close to my heart.  It is clear that this young man was dealing with mental health issues.  There have only been a couple pictures posted, but in every one he looks deeply disturbed.  Over the next few weeks and months, I'm sure we'll learn that friends and family were aware of his problems but either didn't know how to help him or were unable to get him proper help.  Educators and doctors will do damage control for months, trying to explain the reality of underfunded programs, lack of staff and stigma.  I have to believe that you've got to be mentally unstable to decide to kill someone, and that level of instability doesn't manifest itself overnight.  Why was it allowed to get to this point?  Why did his father decide to give him a gun?  There are so many questions.
     I hope that this will cause a larger debate, that we won't be distracted by the latest scandal on reality tv or cowed into debating some sports brouhaha.  I beg apologies from my Jewish friends, but all I have been able to think about today was saying Kaddish for those who were lost yesterday.

Exalted and hallowed be God's great name
in the world which God created, according to plan.
May God's majesty be revealed in the days of our lifetime
and the life of all Israel -- speedily, imminently, to which we say Amen.
Blessed be God's great name to all eternity.
Blessed, praised, honored, exalted, extolled, glorified, adored, and lauded
be the name of the Holy Blessed One, beyond all earthly words and songs of blessing,
praise, and comfort. To which we say Amen.
May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and all Israel,
to which we say Amen.
May the One who creates harmony on high, bring peace to us and to all Israel.
To which we say Amen.

Yitgadal v'yitkadash sh'mei raba.
B'alma di v'ra chirutei,
v'yamlich malchutei,
b'chayeichon uv'yomeichon
uv'chayei d'chol beit Yisrael,
baagala uviz'man kariv. V'im'ru: Amen.
Y'hei sh'mei raba m'varach
l'alam ul'almei almaya.
Yitbarach v'yishtabach v'yitpaar
v'yitromam v'yitnasei,
v'yit'hadar v'yitaleh v'yit'halal
sh'mei d'kud'sha b'rich hu,
l'eila min kol birchata v'shirata,
tushb'chata v'nechemata,
daamiran b'alma. V'imru: Amen.
Y'hei sh'lama raba min sh'maya,
v'chayim aleinu v'al kol Yisrael.
V'imru: Amen.
Oseh shalom bimromav,
Hu yaaseh shalom aleinu,
v'al kol Yisrael. V'imru: Amen.

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