My apologies for being missing in action for so long. It's been a hectic few weeks between teaching a graduate class in Portland and doing keynote speeches at the All-hazards Summits sponsored by Emergency Management magazine. But that's merely an excuse - I've actually been suffering from an uncharacteristic bout of writer's block.
I don't really believe in writer's block - if I'm having trouble writing it's usually because I haven't fully developed an idea or, more likely, I'm just being lazy and not getting started. But this has been different. I've been wrestling with my feelings about the recent shootings in Oregon and Connecticut and trying to think of something to add to a discussion that has been getting way too emotional and too focused on the issue of gun control. In the end, I just can't find the words.
However, I take heart from the season. Most religions of which I am aware hold major celebrations at this time of year. Despite their different beliefs, if you look closely, the theme is the same - the triumph of light over darkness. For centuries the midwinter feast has celebrated the belief that even in the deepest winter there will be a spring and that somehow life will go on. People are never more at their best than when confronted by disaster. You can either believe that in your heart or read the research - it's true either way.
So wherever you fall in the debates that are taking place right now, don't let the actions of two disturbed men obscure the fact that there are millions of people around the world doing something to make it a better place. Be one of them - do an act of kindness, give to a charity, help someone who needs it, support a cause you believe in. Remember the quote attributed to Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."