The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Kevin Wilson
Managing Editor 

No gold star for being decent human

 

September 3, 2017



“The purest form of giving is anonymous to anonymous. We gon’ make it there, I promise this.”

— Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, “Nickels and Dimes”

I wasn’t sure what to say about Monday, when a Clovis teenager walked into Clovis-Carver Public Library with a pair of handguns, and exacted revenge for who-knows-what against people he’d never met — fatally shooting two beloved librarians and injuring four others.

There’s a helpless feeling knowing my words won’t matter — and it pains somebody who has built a career on words mattering to admit that. We’re so dug in to our partisan beliefs that no tragic event — even one that’s literally on Main Street — can get to us without first permeating our partisan filters.

“Guns don’t kill people, people do. ... People are more efficient killers with unfettered access to guns. ... Everybody should have a gun for their own protection. ... The shooter used guns his family bought for protection.”

Why have we dug in? First, a joint statement from the New Mexico Democratic and Republican parties.

“New Mexico’s political parties joined efforts this afternoon, giving back to the community during a tragic week. In the wake of a violent shooting in Clovis and a disastrous hurricane in Texas, the state’s political party staff members donated blood at United Blood Services. Both parties put aside political differences to help communities during these hard times.”

We got that press release, with a photo, on Tuesday. After careful consideration, I have a followup question. Would you (expletive deleted)s like a medal, or the common sense to not expect one?

Let’s start here: I’m a blood donor, and I’ve been one for a long time. I was reminded of it when UBS gave me a card and a pin for reaching the gallon mark Aug. 24.

Donating blood is the real life practice of Murphy’s Law. If the screening questions take too long, you should have filled out an online form in advance. Fill out the form in advance, and the scanner that reads it is broken. Appointment or not, form or not, the process always stretches beyond an hour.

And sometimes things go wrong. During my recent donation, the needle didn’t stick right, and we had to stop halfway through.

But I put up with it, I give and I encourage others do the same. What happens when you donate is trivial. What happens after you donate matters. Car crash and shooting victims shouldn’t have to worry there won’t be extra blood.

I read the card while waiting for a donation chair to open up, and this week rescued it from the temporary trash can known as my car floor to repost it here: “No one gave you a parade. The news didn’t cover your story. You are unknown to those you help. And yet you never stop. You are a hero.”

That’s the way it should be. “Anonymous to anonymous,” not, “Could you fit ‘selfless’ in the headline?”

Our state’s political parties asked The News to cover their self-thrown parade, and I feel no guilt for wanting to rain on it.

I say that because I know they’ll soon revert to reflexively bickering like toddlers over who got the larger scoop of ice cream. Still wondering why people dig in politically no matter what? Attitude reflects leadership.

I say this with 100 percent sincerity: Thank you to all blood donors, anonymous and loud. We’re a better society when we give to those who can’t pay us back.

To our state party leaders, thank you for clarifying what I’ve long pondered. What, exactly, will it take for you to put the people of New Mexico above your partisan interests?

Now we know: People have to die for Republican and Democratic leaders to work together. As callous as it was to suspect that was the answer, it’s infinitely more depressing to have it confirmed.

Kevin Wilson is managing editor of The Eastern New Mexico News. Contact him at: kwilson@thenews.email

 

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