Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Condolences on the Massacres in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and Aurora, Colorado

How to respond to a white suprematist killing six innocent people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin? How to react to the massacre of twelve moviegoers a mere two weeks ago at a theater in Aurora, Colorado?

It seems the thing is to offer sincere condolences.

“Our hearts are with the victims, their families, and the entire Oak Creek Sikh community,” says Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the shooting that tragically took so many lives in Wisconsin,” laments President Obama.

Condolences. Yes, that’s all we can possibly offer the victims of these horrific crimes, committed by terrorists who seemed to have no difficulty procuring weapons that can tear apart a place of worship or an entire theater full of people.

We can’t possibly offer the families of the victims gun control legislation that would ban such rifles and ammunition. No, that would be a terrible infringement of rights, much more terrible than a massacre that takes innocent lives and shakes our entire country to the bedrock.

I think we can extend this rule to other arenas of political life. If a family is without food, for instance, the solution is to offer condolences: “I’m so sorry you’re hungry.” To provide nutrition is out of the question. Only expressions of regret are appropriate.

And if a person is suffering from a disease, the proper response is to rush in with lots of condolences: “I’m awfully upset to hear that you’re sick.” To give medicine—don’t even think of it.

So it goes with mass killings, which seem to occur more and more frequently. But don't worry. There's a solution. We can offer condolences.

Recent posts about writing topics:
How Not to Become a Literary Dropout, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10
Putting Together a Book Manuscript, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7
Working with a Writing Mentor: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
How to Get Published: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4
Getting the Most from Your Writing Workshop: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6
Does the Muse Have a Cell Phone?: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Using Poetic Forms, Part 1: Introduction; Part 2: The Sonnet; Part 3, The Sestina;
Part 4, The Ghazal; Part 5, The Tanka


  1. Thanks for this Zack. Sometimes words are worthless.

  2. Certainly empty words are worthless.

  3. The appropriate way to show your condolence for a death is to express your self that you are concerned and considerate of your feelings. This is warming based from my experience. It is essential that you should know his or her loss and to show that you deeply understand it. Talking, helping her out and even pay a visit to the funeral is also great. It is also good to send a card if you are far away to express your words of condolence.