Time to come together in the middle

By TIM BEELAND,

What a week and it’s not even half over! Mass shootings, back to school, elections. What a crazy mixed up week! Bear with me as I ramble on.

My wife, Danny, and I were in New Orleans over the weekend when the news broke of not one, but two new mass shootings in America. One in El Paso, Texas and the second in Dayton, Ohio. The Texas murders were in a Walmart of all places and in Ohio the gunman selected an area popular for its bars and nightlife.

Most of the New Orleans French Quarter, where we were staying, is also popular for its bars and nightlife, and is frequently populated by tourists, and locals alike, with very varied backgrounds, nationalities, and lifestyles. An unstable person, like these shooters, could just as easily have targeted the street we were walking on, or the one a block over, or even the wedding and second line parade we watched in the street below the balcony of our apartment late Saturday night.

It almost makes one think twice before leaving the comfort of their own home. More so now than ever before if we can’t even feel safe going to buy dog food and toilet paper at Walmart.

There is no doubt that store was packed with folks trying to finish up on their back to school shopping when the gunman took aim. Their buggies were probably full of cookies, and bread, and sandwich bags,  pencils and paper... the necessities that their kids had to have when they headed back to the classroom this week. Then in a flash of gunfire their already hectic world was shattered.

This week we have flags around the country flying at half staff once again. It is really beginning to look like the flag flying at the top of her pole is becoming the  exception rather than the rule. That needs to change. Soon!

I can’t help but wonder as classroom bells begin to ring if our children are wondering if something bad could happen at one of their schools. I wonder if deep down inside they might be a little bit afraid of getting up in the mornings, jumping on the school bus, and heading off for another day of learning, and play.

My wife is a school teacher so naturally I think about it. Not really worrying but wondering at the same time if you know what I mean. That needs to change too. I hope it does. Soon!

On a different school subject, let’s all keep in mind that it is back to school time and the buses are rolling. Its our responsibility to keep an eye out for them as they are loading and unloading. Stop when they stop like you are supposed to do. And don’t just keep an eye out for those buses, keep an eye out for the kids as well. You never know when one of them is going to pop out from behind a parked car, dart out from behind the tree out by the road, or jump though the doors of that big yellow bus. Let’s be safe not sorry this school year.

And finally the primary election is behind us and we are looking to the run-off and the long hot road to November. If the dog days of August are upon us, and they are, rest assured the campaign game is going to be heating up as well. It’ll be interesting to see what, if any, effect the events of last weekend will have on this election cycle rhetoric.

Already the right is pointing at the left, and the left is pointing at the right, when it comes to the blame game, but the way I see it is that both sides are going to have to find a way to come together somewhere around the middle if we’re ever going to have a chance to stop the taking of innocent lives.

I don’t think the parents, and friends, and family of those 32 people killed care if we are Republicans or  Democrats this week. They are too busy burying their dead. Think about them.