2018-01-31 / Opinions

A test of our time

While news cycles are short and turn over quickly, events in real life leave an indelible mark that lasts a lifetime.

That’s certainly true of the fatal shooting in a Benton, Kentucky high school last Tuesday. Two teens were killed by another student with a gun, and 18 others were injured either by gunfire or trying to escape the scene. An entire town, and family members stretched out beyond that area, have to face the reality of their losses for a long time. Even students who stood at that school during the shooting will remember those moments for the rest of their days. It will color where they go, who they trust and how they enter adulthood.

The nation learned, too, of a horrific reality of sexual abuse and assault inside the USA Gymnastics organization. The doctor who perpetrated the hands-on crimes will likely spend the rest of his days in prison. But his victims – more than 150 young women – have had to bear the burden of his acts for years. It’s only right that every adult who should have protected those young women – every single adult – answer for their role in letting the abuse continue for so long. The resignations of Michigan university officials and gymnastics board members is a minor but important start.

Modern life has shortened the public’s attention span, and created a false gap between events and their human cost. The test of our time is to close that gap, watch over each other and act. It’s clear our failures are leaving the most innocent among us in harm’s way, over and over again. We have the power to change that.

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