Dave Richards for October 3rd…………
--Okay, gang, here we go! The 39th annual Autumnfest celebration takes place this weekend, October 7th, 8th, and Monday the 9th. Anyone who has read my words in these pages over the past almost four decades knows my sincere and complete support for our Annual Family Fun Festival. It’s the biggest planned event which happens in Woonsocket in any year.
I know you’ll be there if you can for the food, fireworks, and Monday’s 10 Division Parade. The Consumer Showcase offers a great opportunity to begin holiday shopping or to get ideas. The Rotary Stage will present numerous local performances, including our headliner, the legendary Brian Duprey, who has spent so many years away from us entertaining millions with his incomparable Frank Sinatra tribute that he’s missed a bunch of Autumnfests. It will be great to see Brian again, and to meet his young bride for the first time.
And let us not forget the Dodge Ball and Mega-War sports events! More information is available at our radio station website or at Autumnfest.org.
We’ll see you this weekend at Autumnfest!
--One of the disadvantages of living in a society as well-connected as we are today is that we frequently suffer from too much information about big news events, like the shootings in Las Vegas. With this in mind, I’m thinking you don’t need to read another tedious, table-pounding, emotional couple of paragraphs. Good. I don’t want to write them.
Yesterday morning I was filling in on our Coffee An’ program and I was asked for my words on the subject. Before walking into the studio, I read a number of statements from elected officials. They were “obligatory” statements. Hey, what can you say about something that bad which doesn’t sound inadequate, I understand. But people like presidents and congressmen and senators have to say something lest they be accused of not caring at all.
These high elected officials cannot say or write what I’m about to write to you now, because candor and frankness never sounds right when people are frightened or hurt. They cannot say it, but I will.
When tragedies such as the Las Vegas shooting happen, there is confusion. Fear causes additional injuries as people, without knowledge or the benefit of communication with authorities take action without thinking. The old adage, “it’s not so much the fire in the theater which kills you, it’s the stampede to escape which takes so many lives”. Thank God this was an outdoor event! But the confusion takes its toll regardless. First responders have to somehow deal with a panicked crowd while they try to learn what precisely is going on and determine how to stop it. It takes time. Meanwhile the gunman continues the killing, causing still further confusion in the crowd.
That law enforcement stopped him as soon as they did is a tribute to their professionalism. Nobody expects this to happen. How could they?
But now comes the more noise and confusion. I’m not speaking of the initial panic during the shooting, I’m talking about the second-guessing and the actions of those who will attempt to use this tragedy as a tool to get their way. It is already starting as I hear discussions along the lines of “this would not have happened if we had real gun control in this country” and “they should have known this would happen when they put balconies on the high-rise hotel. What were they thinking? Why was it allowed?”. Oh, yes, everybody can tell you what could have prevented the incident AFTER it happens. I think this discussion is better had by government officials, not the general public. In my opinion, society is better served if the general public which has no work to do regarding the Las Vegas tragedy simply moves on with their lives.
Yes, I realize how harsh that sounds. But there is a point I’m trying to make with that statement.
People who perpetrate these anti-social acts have their reasons, no matter how misguided or sick they may be. Some, I’m sure, don’t even think about how it ends up for themselves, or they are satisfied with the idea that they may be killed by law enforcement in the end. Some, I suppose, may be thrilled with that prospect. But I think all of them are looking for attention. And, I think, they reason they are making a profound statement of some kind and their deaths will be meaningful to whatever message they are trying to promulgate.
To just simply move on with our lives shows them, and people like them, the ultimate contempt for what they did and for their message, whatever it may have been. Remember the worst thing you can do to another human being is to not care about them.
Don’t “martyr” their message. There is nothing we can do to stop what has happened. But if we do not honor the sacrifice of the perpetrator’s lives by discussing why they did it, hopefully other would-be perpetrators will think sacrificing their lives won’t be worth it.
What it all really comes down to is what my old pal Salty Brine always said, “Brush your Teeth and Say your Prayers.” You’re not going to be able to control the world, the best you can hope for is to take care of the things which are yours, and to put the rest in the hands of God.
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.
Thanks for reading!