A Happy New Year?

This is supposed to be a year in review issue, but for me it’s all about the future and what it holds for and for all of us. I really don’t know what it holds. When I think about recent events, I’m almost afraid– the shooting in Newtown. How can anyone possibly think about a new year when there are 26 sets of parents that will start 2013 without their children. How could anyone do what was done on that tragic Friday morning? How could anyone be so cruel, But then again I shouldn’t be surprised? I see cruelty almost every day, not on the scale of what happened in Newtown, but it’s there. I see it when someone fails to hold a door open for someone or on the subway when young people won’t give up their seat to someone who really needs it. I see it when a blind person who needs help crossing the street and people just walk by them without a word. I see it every time someone walks by a homeless person without so much as a friendly smile.

New Year’s day is supposed to be about new beginnings, a new time, a new start, but as the years go by all I see is more of the same. It seems the each year things get worse and it never fails that every year someone ends up shooting up a mall, a movie theater or a school. So what do we have to look forward to in the new year that will be any different? Maybe just maybe out of this latest tragedy there will come some hope. Maybe we will find a way to be kinder to each other, look after each other, care about each other just a little bit more. It wouldn’t hurt. We won’t stop all the violence in the world. But maybe just maybe by being nice to someone, by listening to someone, it could make all the difference in the world.

We could do nothing or just do what we always do, mourn, be shock, feel sad, and then move on. I personally hope not. I’m tired of riding on trains and buses and watching pregnant women and senior citizens stand while a much younger person sits and texts, oblivious to what’s going on around them. I’m tired of seeing a blind person who wants to cross the street and I’m the only one who offers to help. I’m tired of watching people walk past the homeless as if they’re not there. If this is to be a new year, make it a true one.

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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