Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 was a year to forget

In many ways, 2012 is a year we would like to forget.
It was a year of too much horror and heartache, a year that saw the legends of a generation pass and that left us reeling with questions about random violence rocking our sense of security.
Not since 2001 and the terror of 9/11 have we felt so hopelessly victimized as we did twice in 2012.
The world didn't come to an end on Dec. 21, as the Mayans predicted.
Instead it came to an end a week earlier on Dec. 14 for 26 families who lost their children in the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn.
The massacre was the second mass shooting of horrendous proportion, coming five months after a deranged lone gunman killed 12 people and injured dozens at a Colorado movie premiere.
We saw the venerable educational institution of Penn State University rocked by scandal that began in 2011, resulting in 2012 in the trial of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on charges of sexally abusing and raping young boys.
Again, the horror in headlines. 
The scandal included a sad chapter, as legendary Coach Joe Paterno died of cancer early in the year.
JoePa, Whitney Houston, Nora Ephron, Etta James, Dick Clark -- all legends to different groups for different reasons -- all giants in someone's world, now gone.
Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on New York City and the Jersey shore, leaving in its wake death and destruction, forever altering shore towns that for many held their fondest memories of summers gone by.
Part of the sadness of 2012 is that the things destroyed were the very things we held dear in our hearts  -- a Jersey shore memory, a first grade class, a night at the movies.
I am a Penn State alum so I add the happiness of Nittany Valley to that list.
In the December buildup to the Mayan calendar tale, there was a lot of talk that it didn't mean the end of the world, it meant a change in the world.
2012 was a year that turned upside-down many things we believed were stable and safe.
In so doing, many of our fears were laid bare.
As we head toward 2013, the hope is that we have a place to start.
Perhaps the awful events of 2012 were a way to turn the directions of violence and hatred in a different direction.
A local leader who I respect said to me recently: "All our agendas have been exposed. Maybe that's the first step to figuring out how to change society and make it truly about goodwill toward others."
That seems at least a way to look at the year past beyond just regret.

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