Dear Editor:

When a child dies in an accident or in a senseless act of violence, it is a devastating event. When a young person takes their own life before they have ever really had a chance to experience it, it is a sin. Not a sin upon the child but a sin upon society.

What makes it even worse is that we avoid taking about it, like some ancient taboo, falsely believing that if we do not discuss it, it will go away and everything will return to normal. Instead, what we should be doing is determining the cause of our failures and how we can remedy them.

There is no doubt that we are a caring society. We teach our children to be that way from a very young age and it reveals itself every time a crisis occurs. What we have lost is that personal connection with one another, that attentiveness that allows us to recognize when someone is in distress and allows us to act before events reach the crisis level, before it becomes too late. This is where society is failing. If it is not "tweeted," "texted" or "facebooked," than it does not exist and not only is it not worth paying attention to, but people do not know how to pay attention to it anymore.

With our daughter in her sophomore year of college now, my wife and I have both had several opportunities to be on campus helping her move in and out and attending different functions. I am never ceased to be amazed at the reaction from the majority of other students when upon passing by them we smile and say "hello," something that until recently was so common.

Their reactions range from utter confusion, as if we were aliens speaking a dialect they could not understand, to horror, as if the grim reaper was suddenly standing before them beckoning them to follow. It is truly sad that they do not know how to react to this simple act of human interaction.



To read the rest of this letter to the editor subscribe to Decorah Newspapers at 563-382-4221 for just 34 cents an issue. Or purchase one at any of the many convenient locations in Decorah and throughout Winneshiek County.