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    Unlocking the Door: When tragedy strikes

    Kendra Taylor Over the summer my family hosted a foreign exchange student from France named Victoire (in English it means victory. Pretty cool, huh?).
    We had an amazing time showing our new French family member Oregon, so much so that she is coming back again this summer. Of course, this means we have kept in contact. My mom, Cristel, was emailing her mom, Anne, back and forth last week about the summer plans. In one of these emails Victoire’s mother gave us her condolences for what happened in Boston. She proceeded to explain how she and her husband, Thierry, had been planning on racing in it this year but had decided not to last minute.
    Up until then we did not have much personal connection to what happened in Boston. When it was the Aurora shooting, I was affected by it because I had been there a few years prior; with the Clackamas shooting, a few of my cousins were there; and when it was the Sandy Hook shooting, it was because my aunt is a teacher. Now, it is Boston, and my French family was almost there.
    Somehow, someway, we are all connected to almost every tragic circumstance, even if we do not realize it at first. All of these tragedies have struck a chord in our hearts–especially since there are so many in this short span of time and these are just the ones that happened in the United States. It can be very overwhelming. Yet, if we pause for a second and reflect, they all seem to bear the question, What do we do?
    The question has been asked–so what then is the answer? In cases like Aurora, Clackamas and Sandy Hook, it is a somewhat easier question to answer because we know who did it. Maybe not why, but at least we can be at peace knowing that they cannot harm anyone anymore. But, with Boston it is different, because although we have stopped the people who did it, we know that danger still lurks.
    All of the chaos made everyone jump to conclusions about who and why, but getting the answers to those questions will not get us an answer for the bigger question that is being asked.
    The real answer is, What can I do? Yes, I know that is answering a question with another question, but it is the answer.
    We have all heard the heroic tale of Carlos Arredondo, the man in the cowboy hat who ran to help the wounded when the bombs went off, even though he himself had been badly injured. This makes headlines; this is the hero story. While it is exactly how we should be reacting as well, we are not always close enough to be able to physically assist those that have been affected. Despite this, we can still help in other ways and we must act on it.
    We can help by sending letters to people in the area that were affected or donate money to help those who have medical bills that need to be paid. Letting them know that people care can make a big difference, since their feeling of security has been shattered. You can help them restore faith by showing them that there are good people out there who care and want to help. You can also do things like that within our own community by volunteering or doing other work with people in the area. I know that may not seem like it would help, but it creates a more tight-knit community, so that if tragedy strikes, we have each other to fall back on.
    In the end, none of us are untouchable. We have all been affected in some way by the recent tragedies. The best way to cope and recover from what has happened is to go and help those who need it and then focus our attention on preventing these types of circumstances in the future.
    Even though these terrible things do happen, we have to keep in mind that there is still much good that goes on in this world. Remember my French family? When I found out that they had almost been there, I was appalled to think that they could have been hurt. But now, I have taken a different perspective. I think of how blessed they are to have not been there and that they are just fine. Many of us are just like them, whether we have somehow been saved from a tragedy or not. We are more lucky than we know, and it often takes tragedy to reminds us. We have to hold onto that, rather than be afraid of what could be. That way, we can focus more on what we should be doing, which is helping those who have been in negative situations.

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