Yesterday, tragedy struck in Norway. A bomb went off in the city of Oslo, and a gunman went on a shooting spree on the island of Utoya where a youth retreat was being held. The death toll is currently up to 92.
As we witness the country go into mourning over the lives lost, we remember the feelings of sorrow our own country has felt through several tragedies – the devastating attacks of Sept. 11th, 2001, the Tucson shooting, and more. We know exactly what the people of Norway are feeling. They feel shocked, sad, angry. They question, why did this happen? Why did so many innocent people have to die – so many children? It doesn’t seem fair.
This CNN.com article describes the traumatizing experience of one survivor from the island. It starts off:
“Three times, Adrian Pracon prepared to die on Utoya island, a Norwegian paradise turned to hell Friday. Friends he laughed with earlier in the day fell one by one in a gunman’s hail of fire”
It seems unreal that something this awful could happen, doesn’t it? You wonder what possibly happens to the mind of a man that he could kill so many innocent people. You wonder what could be done to prevent it from happening. These questions are running through the minds of the Norwegians.
There’s something else though, more positive, that the Norwegians are feeling that we Americans recognize – a feeling of unity. It’s a powerful force. Suddenly, everything is put into perspective. Loved ones come together. The strong support the weak.
It’s something the perpetrators of these kinds of attacks don’t foresee (or wish to ignore). But no matter what happens, humans have a wonderful ability to put aside differences and together overcome the worst of events.
I think most of the time we forget that. But it’s something any nation can do, during a tragedy or not, if it really wants to.