To the editor:
Life, like pictures, is lived in slivers.
This truth is immortalized by the words of Jessica Gawhi, who bore witness to the horrific experience of the June 5 Toronto shootings.
“I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday,” she wrote at the time. “I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath.”
Jessica, incredibly, was also at the theater in Aurora, Colo., in July — and she did not survive the horror of the Colorado shootings. We are grateful for Jessica’s words because it otherwise remains impossible not to either regress into a depression or a bout of rage.
The taking of lives by natural disasters or accidents does not affect the psyche as powerfully as when lives are lost at the hands of a person who makes a fateful decision. The shooter has changed his and the lives of many in just a sliver of a moment. Jessica’s words thankfully help us cope with the insanity of it.
Veronica Moser-Sullivan embraced life to its fullest completely devoid of any misgivings. This is the advantage of being 6 years old.
Alex Teves, 24, recently graduated with a master’s degree in counseling psychology. He was ready to intervene in positive ways in the lives of others.
Tom Sullivan was 27; he was with friends and planned to celebrate his first wedding anniversary July 30.
Jonathan Blunk, 24, was a proud Navy man. He served our country with distinction with three tours of duty in the Middle East. He had plans to re-enlist and had his sights on becoming a Navy Seal. He was a man of great courage and resolve. He saved the life of his friend, Jansen Young.
Navy cryptologist John Larimer was respected by his peers and superiors. His immediate supervisor, Buckley Air Force Base Navy Cmdr Jeffrey Jakubuski, likened losing this amazing young man as “... losing one of my sons.”.His family and friends surely mourn a great loss.
Micayla Medek, 23, was on a path of happiness. Her father’s cousin, Anita Busch, helped temper our anguish that weekend with these thoughtful words “I hope this evil act ... doesn’t shake people’s faith in God.”
Matt McQuinn protected his girlfriend and brother from harm. In doing so, he lost his life to preserve the life of two people that were vitally important to him. His action is testimony that even in the darkest moment selfless humanity can materialize spontaneously. There is no better indication that hope, therefore, remains a valid notion even on a day like this.
Gordon Cowden, 51, also did not survive the shootings. His beloved teenage children did. In their hour of grief, his family provided solace with these words: “Our hearts go out to everyone that has been harmed by this senseless tragedy.”
Air Force Sgt. Jesse Childress, 29, was respected by peers and friends alike. Athletic, energetic and grounded in his work his supervisor Air Force Capt. Andrew Williams said this of him; “He was always our star,”
And so perhaps the stars can give us a clue that some things are infinite indeed. Love, hope, faith. These not only survive bouts of evil, but actually defeat it.
As we ponder this tragedy, let us mourn these lives who have passed by so swiftly and yet have moved many so deeply shall be remembered.