Can We Put Accidental Death into Perspective?

6 Jul

I’m guessing I’m the only person in America with this particular obsession, but I feel compelled to share it anyway.

It seems like each day we are given a new media show regarding some accidental death, or deaths.  Sometimes the story goes on for days, as we all clearly must get to the bottom of why this occurred — or so the media thinks.  And my heart goes out to the families and friends, and my prayers go up for the souls of those killed and the families left behind — just as yours do.

BUT — shouldn’t we practice a little perspective, here?  Do we realize that over two hundred Americans are dying sudden, violent accidental deaths every day?  EVERY DAY??  On average, close to 100 are dying on our roads every day of the year.  Even as I type this, it is not unlikely that one, or two, or more, motorist(s) lie in a bloody mess somewhere in America, crying out to God, watching a beloved family member die before their eyes, or praying for those that they expect to be leaving behind.

I think it’s very sad that three kids lost their lives when that boat capsized in New York on July 4th.  I also think it’s very sad that the heat wave seems to have been a factor in the deaths of some number of people.  And I’m saddened every time a report of a specific untimely death comes across the airwaves.

But where is the realization, the acknowledgement, the perspective that even as we listen to these one-off reports, another person is mangled on our streets, or is crushed in an industrial accident, or is killed falling off a ladder, or . .  . .

And that it happens frequently enough that the next family touched could be our own.

I find myself, in my morning prayers, asking God to save even one young mother or young father this day from unexpected and violent death on our highways and by-ways — someone who, without His intervention, otherwise will be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

No doubt it is good to be reminded by the media that there are real people suffering as a result of sudden separation from loved ones — we need to feel compassion for these extremely unfortunate people.  But somehow, shouldn’t we be made to understand that tragic, sudden accidental deaths are occurring somewhere in America every hour of every day? Would this make the issue of accidental deaths stand out in higher relief, or, because of the immense sadness surrounding all this sudden tragic death, would we just shut down our emotional centers?

I know our psyches could not stand an individual recounting of all of these accidental deaths, but how about reasonably frequent reminders of the sheer size of these numbers?  Would it make us appreciate a safe day just a little bit more?

Or do you just think I need counseling . . . .



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