On Nov. 14, a mother was driving her young son to school at Rancho Tehama Elementary in northern California when Kevin Neal fired eight rounds at her truck with his semi-automatic rifle.
Both the woman and her son suffered several injuries but managed to escape with their lives. That same day, many others – including Neal’s wife – were less fortunate. According to the Los Angeles Times, Neal shot and killed eight more victims before authorities stopped him.
Few news agencies reported on this attack, and nowhere did it go viral.
The United States has grown apathetic to school shootings and other various acts of terrorism – even those within our own borders.
These days, it seems there is an act of terrorism flooding the news every other day. It might feel impossible to commemorate every life lost in these attacks, but they should not be forgotten or swept under the rug.
Maybe tragedies don’t have to be the focus of every news story, but we should take these stories as opportunities to lend a helping hand whenever and wherever that help is needed.
Fast forward a couple weeks after the shooting. On Nov. 27, Melania Trump revealed this year’s White House Christmas theme: time-honored traditions.
While many photos demonstrated classic, traditional adornments such as green and red wreaths, glittering Christmas trees and nativity sets, one photo in particular stood as most memorable.
It was a long, dark hallway lined with white, seemingly dead trees. At the end of the hallway, a Christmas tree is just barely visible.
Mrs. Trump’s Christmas decorations were the hot topic on almost every news agency. She was criticized for her choice in decorations every way she turned.
This isn’t the first time the U.S has lost sight of what’s important. Not too long ago, Mrs. Trump’s heels were flooding every top trending list while hurricanes were devastating thousands of Texans.
While it might be easy to sometimes treat our politicians as celebrities, there are more important things to think about than how our first lady chooses to decorate her home for the holidays.
In the past few months alone, the U.S. has fallen victim to several tragedies: the shooting in Rancho Tehama and Las Vegas, fires in California and hurricanes in Texas just barely scratch the surface.
Even we as journalists would prefer to not read about tragedy after tragedy in the news. However, that does not mean we would rather gloss over an elementary school shooting to talk about Mrs. Trump’s latest “fashion oops,” or something else just as trivial.
As 2017 comes to a close, we can be especially mindful of lending our hands to those who need them during the holiday season.
Mrs. Trump shared her home’s decor just days after Thanksgiving – a time to give thanks and remember everything we have for which to be grateful.
We have all of November and December to be especially mindful of that which gives us joy, but in the flurry and bustle of Black Fridays, flight delays and White House decorations, we get lost in a whirlwind of trivial pursuits.
In just a few weeks, we will celebrate our Savior’s birth. This holiday season, honor the lives lost by spending your time doing something meaningful. Get involved in service and volunteer opportunities. Take advantage of the Church’s campaign #lighttheworld by spreading love, joy and hope to those who need it – be it in your own homes or on a broader scale.
The best news this Earth ever received was the birth of Jesus Christ. This season is one of good news – let us remember that and share the news worth holding onto.