Gloucester Daily Times Debate on Abortion (34), February 6, 1986

There Was More Than One Tragedy

When I arrived at work, Jan. 28, I was greeted by a co-worker’s question, “Did you hear about the tragedy?” “Which tragedy?” I replied. I was then informed of the space shuttle explosion and the death of seven young Americans.

It was a tragedy. It was also a media event, a sad spectacle captured “live” on nationwide television, a recorder visual document of the dreams and lives of seven people shattered in the skies. It was one more tragedy in a world of daily, unattended tragedies.

Seven children starve to death in Ethiopia and the Sudan every few seconds, the tragic victims of a world that cannot forsake it global arms race to prioritize saving the innocent.

Seven unborn children die in hospitals and abortion clinics across the U.S.A. every minute — the victims of a capitalist culture that has moved from disposable diapers to disposable babies, saturated by media images of death on the 6 o’clock news and insulated from reality or responsibility.

Seven people are killed on the Nicaraguan border of Honduras by CIA-backed “contras” financed by the U.S. tax dollars — seven is the average number of civilian deaths that has occurred each day since the “contra” insurrection intensified three years ago based on reports in “Noticias Alidas,” the Mary Knoll Latin American publication and Humanitas International.

When I woke up Wednesday morning with thoughts and prayers for our daily tragedies running through my mind, I remembered the concluding words of Bob Dylan’s 1964 “Ballad of Hollis Brown.” The lines are:

“There’s seven people dead on a South Dakota farm. Somewhere in the distance there’s seven people born.”

Paul Pallazola, Lynn