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Two senseless tragedies. Two Wednesday memorial services. Central Lakes College’s memorial service for Dominique Corder and the memorial service for  the victims of Saturday’s shootings in Tucson were distinct events but the voices that were heard evoked similar emotions.

CLC football coach Greg Medeck was talking about his quarterback, who was shot on New Year’s Day in his hometown of Indianapolis, but he could have been speaking about any of the six murdered Arizona victims or the wounded who may live diminished lives because of the shootings when he spoke of missed opportunities. Medeck identified the loss of seeing Corder fulfill his life’s opportunities as the aspect he would miss most because of Corder’s death.

In the case of the CLC sophomore and those who were slain or injured in Tucson, precious opportunities will be missed through no fault of their own. Potential will not be fulfilled because murderers violently ended or seriously harmed innocent victims. The losses represent a tremendous waste of human life at a time when we need good people who are willing to step up and do the right thing.

In the case of the politically charged shootings in Arizona, President Barack Obama wisely steered clear of politics, concentrating instead on the heroism that was demonstrated by bystanders and memories of the victims.

Here in Brainerd, the words of Corder’s grandmother, Anna Hall, were read at Wednesday’s service, displaying gratitude rather than bitterness at the awful turn of events in her life.

“There are not enough words to express my gratitude for all you did for Dominique while he was at CLC, so far from home,” she wrote. “You reached out to him as if he were one of your own.”

Perhaps a greater appreciation of everyday kindnesses is one way we can avoid the senseless violence which too often afflicts our nation.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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