Tag Archives: death

Four Years in Iraq: Forgive Us Father For We Have Sinned

These words come from a Soldier who has fought in this battle. The news article reads:
Forgive Me Decal

Sgt. Mathew Gonzalez said his decal that reads “Lord please forgive me, I have committed sins for our freedom” is a message he created to show that as a Catholic he believes he did sin by killing someone in Iraq.

Today marks four years since our country declared war with Iraq. Noble men and women, innocent children, killed and being killed on both sides of this war. It’s no secret that I think this war is wrong. I think all war is wrong, I don’t believe it is ever the necessary or best option. However, my goal today isn’t to make a case for or against, I believe this is a moment and a time to lament the lose of the past four years. Lament the lose of soldiers, Iraqi and USA. Lament the deaths of children, elderly, Muslim, Christian, brothers and sisters.

  • US Troop Casualities – 3,205 US troops; 98% male. 90% non-officers; 78% active duty, 13% National Guard; 74% Caucasian, 10% African-American, 11% Latino. 19% killed by non-hostile causes. 54% of US casualties were under 25 years old. 68% were from the US Army
  • US Troops Wounded – 24,042, 20% of which are serious brain or spinal injuries (total excludes psychological injuries)
  • US Troops with Serious Mental Health Problems 30% of US troops develop serious mental health problems within 3 to 4 months of returning home
  • Iraqi Civilians Killed, Estimated – A UN issued report dated Sept 20, 2006 stating that Iraqi civilian casualities have been significantly under-reported. Casualties are reported at 50,000 to over 100,000, but may be much higher. Some informed estimates place Iraqi civilian casualities at over 600,000.

Please take sometime today to read the names of the men, women and children who have been killed in Iraq. These are not numbers, they are names, real people whose lives have been changed, impacted, and ended by this war. (Download the PDF, about 2.5mb)

At Least Mindy has Great Handwriting

From Time.com:

Doctors’ sloppy handwriting kills more than 7,000 people annually. It’s a shocking statistic, and, according to a July 2006 report from the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine (IOM), preventable medication mistakes also injure more than 1.5 million Americans annually. Many such errors result from unclear abbreviations and dosage indications and illegible writing on some of the 3.2 billion prescriptions written in the U.S. every year.

vandy nursing studentYou would think that thousands of deaths would be alarming enough to institute some sort of major changes into the medical field and prescription business. Anyone have any great ideas?

At least I know Mindy has great handwriting. When she’s a practitioner she won’t be killing people at the stroke of a pen.

(ht. Derek)

Remembering September 10th

This date will go down in history as a tragic one for our world. The cold heartedness that could bring such atrocity to mankind makes ones heart tremble. We pause in remembrance of the tragedy that has occurred. We look forward, gaining strength from those who have been an example of heroism in the past.

The evil of hunger claimed the lives of 40,000 children on 9/10 that did not need to die. They were little ones to whom belongs the kingdom. Their death was not due to the overt hatred and action of ones they would call their enemies. These children died because of the passive complacency of people they might even call friends. There is no monument built at which to lay flowers or say prayers on behalf of these victims. Their names are not remembered on this campus, for we did not know them personally.

Try as we may, we cannot point the finger and say with conviction, “let justice be served.” If there is injustice it is our own doing. If we seek to point the finger we can only look to our own apathy and lack of concern for addressing this tragedy. This catastrophic event that we faced and continue to face is real and it is happening everyday. This is an issue that requires, even demands, our action. History will repeat it self. History IS repeating itself.

We do not mourn this tragedy without hope, we have hope. We have an example and a hope to look to because there are heroes who came before us. Jesus was that example and he IS that hope. He told us to give to the least of these, to love our neighbors; He feed, healed, shared. Like the parable of Lazarus we stand as the rich man with the resources God has given to us and we are not sharing with the poor beggar who is within our reach.

Let me be clear, the events remembered on 9/11 are tragic, and we are right to remember and mourn. For those who experienced the loss of friends or family, I and this community grieve with you. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to witness first hand the loss of a loved one, and collectively with so many in our nation. 9/10 should not be any less remembered. The loss of life that occurred this day was tragic and was within our means to stop. And each day from then until now the same tragedy occurs, and we either never cared in the first place, or have become so desensitized that our heart is numb.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” These children that are dying are our neighbors, many are our brothers and sisters in Christ. In past centuries we could say we lacked the means and resources to address these issues. Today we do not have that option. If we continue to live in the gross abundance that we have as our brothers and sisters daily die of starvation and disease that we can combat, we are without excuse.
Grieve 9/11 and pray the Lord keep your heart tender and open to His love. Grieve 9/10 and each day, and pray the Lord would turn your heart to a fervent life changing love for those in need. Pray he teaches you his truth, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Originally published in the Wheaton Record at Wheaton College. Published also at Relevantmagazine.com and Circle6 magazine.

The News makes choices on what’s important

The Crocodile Hunter dies. Okay, so I realize why this gets media attention. An international celebrity, an environmentalist, quite a character. As a friend said, “This is seriously like finding out there’s no Santa. He was invincible.” If you want to find out about another crazy radical killed by dangerous animals he hung out with, check out this movie.

I understand all that, and I understand why the news story on The Today Show yesterday spent time commentating on the death of the Crocodile Hunter and how sad that is.

What I don’t understand is why we don’t spend an equal amount of time commentating, discussing, and pondering the tragedy of six children dying in a fire because a candle tipped over in thier apartment where there were no working smoke alarms and the candle was their current source of light since their electricity had been off since May. I’m not advocating for universal electricity service or anything. I’m just saying, that’s a tragedy, and it’s an important one for us to discuss.
Where was the interview of the local pastor, asking how we can preach a gospel that calls us to help those in need, and yet we let this women and her children live without electricity for months? Where is the commentary on the reality of slum landlords that don’t keep their buildings up to code?
Why is the death of six children not worth as much media time and energy as the death of a man who many expected would die in an accident similar to the what happened?

Fire kills 6 children in Chicago – The Boston Globe

Commonwealth Edison spokesman John Dewey said the apartment hadn’t had electricity since May, but he wouldn’t say why it was turned off, citing confidentiality policies.

Orozco said smoke detectors were found in common areas of the building but not the gutted apartment.

“We have working smoke detectors in all of our apartment units at the time the tenants sign their leases,” said Jay Johnson, the owner of the building. All the smoke detectors in the building are hard-wired to the electrical system, he said.

Life is Fragile

Thursday, April 27th, was an intense morning for a lot of people. People close to me whom I know experienced very clearly how amazing and fragile life is in two very different ways. Here is how the morning went for me.
Sometime a little before 5 am on Thursday morning our phone rang. It was a call we’d been eagerly expecting, our good friends where going to have a baby. Our role was to come over and watch their three year old while they went to the hospital. We went over and they headed off to the hospital. I took a short nap and then dressed and headed to work.
At work I settled down at my desk and briefly checked my email, when a news headline caught my eye. I opened the news article just as the phone rang and Mindy excitedly shared with me some other news.

In one moment, I heard the announcement of a new life and read a tale of lost life.

Whitney Cerak, a girl I had met only briefly a few weeks before, died in a fatal car accident. I can remember her sitting in our living room talking about what her interest where and what she would like to do with her life in the future.
Roman Franklin was born at 7:00am on April 27th. A new life I have had the joy of watching grow from unnoticable in his mother’s womb to a quickly growing one month old.

That day was especially sombering for me as the joy and sadness mixed together in my heart and reminded me that each life is important and fragile. I don’t know what words or thoughts can explain the heaviness one’s heart feels as they recognize these truthes. There is a feeling of regret and shame for how flippantly one has treated life and relationships and you finally realize how sacred it all is.

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit–immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously–no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners–no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. -C.S Lewis, The Weight of Glory

I leave you with this saying, which my good friend Ashley (who introduced us to Whitney) started saying with me sometime 7+ years ago in high school.

How Goes the World?
The world goes not well,
but the kingdom comes.”