News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

December 17, 2012

MAUREEN HAYDEN: For now, collective grief is most appropriate way to respond to tragedy

INDIANAPOLIS — Last Friday afternoon, in the wake of the unfathomable tragedy that struck the community of Newtown, Conn., Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels directed that flags throughout the state be lowered to half-staff until sunset Tuesday.

I live near the Indiana Statehouse, in a small apartment with a clear view of the building. As I watched the flag that sits atop the Statehouse lowered that afternoon, I felt a convulsion of grief.  

It must have felt that way for so many Americans.

The flag on our state capitol was lowered in accordance with a directive from President Barack Obama. As a sign of respect for the 20 schoolchildren and seven adults who were, as the president’s proclamation stated, “victims of the senseless acts of violence” of a gunman, the flags on public buildings and grounds across the land came down, down, down before finally resting at half-staff.

So, too — in a collective act of grief — came down the flags at all U.S. embassies, consulates, military bases, naval stations and other American government facilities around the world.  

The tradition of the half-staff flag is rich and deep, dating back centuries. There are procedures and protocols for how and when it should be done — hoisting it to the peak before lowering it; leaving it lowered for 30 days on the death of a president, for example — but mostly it’s about symbolism: It is a sign of national mourning.

Collective grief seems the right thing now. Before the rush to judgment about gun laws, before the calls to arm every schoolteacher or disarm every American, before the inevitably ugly political debates that will soon ensue, we need to feel the grief.

I suspect like so many Americans, I spent most of my weekend parceling out time for the news, dipping in for minutes at a time before turning away from the television, putting away the newspaper and turning off my computer.

We needn’t turn away from it for long. The real tragedy of Newtown would be to ignore the hard things we need to talk about, both in our homes and in our Statehouse. Among them: our easy access to guns, our culture of violence, our ignorance of mental illness that leads to such lethal craziness.

I don’t how know the conversation should be shaped, but here are two things that seem right to include:

First, we pride ourselves in Indiana on our fiscal conservatism, but the dollars we spend on mental health services are well below the national average. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Indiana’s per capita spending on mental health services is about $80; the national average in $120.

Second, here’s another statistic: Gun deaths in Indiana outpace motor vehicle deaths. We’re one of 10 states where that’s occurred in recent years. One major reason, of course, is how intentional we’ve been as a state and nation to bring down the number of traffic-related deaths. We’ve supported a range of fatality-prevention initiatives, such as mandatory seatbelt use, better highway design and intolerance for drunk driving. In short, we treated traffic deaths like a major public health problem.

Shouldn’t we be treating gun deaths the same way?

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers, the Tribune-Star’s parent company. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • MET072914leo screen.jpg Slick’s debut

    Bobby “Slick” Leonard was the main attraction but his hometown, Terre Haute, was constantly in the background as friends, fans and family gathered in Indianapolis Tuesday night to honor the man famous for the words “Boom Baby.”

    July 29, 2014 8 Photos

  • MET 072914 TAJIMI YANASE.jpg Sister-city students get a dose of ‘new culture’

    One of Juri Sawada’s dreams has been to visit America.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Motion delays trial for 2012 homicide

    A man who has been jailed about 20 months in connection with the homicide of his wife will not go on trial next week as scheduled.

    July 29, 2014

  • Sheriff charged in prostitution case

    Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden has spent more than 30 years in law enforcement working to protect the public from criminals, but on Tuesday he was treated as one.

    July 29, 2014 1 Story

  • maple candy closeup.jpg Vigo Parks dishing out the sweetness

    Vigo County Parks and Recreation has made a “sweet” addition to its maple syrup production at Prairie Creek Park.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Danny Rodden indicted on federal charges

    Instead of overseeing the operations of the Clark County jail and police force Tuesday, Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden found himself being transported by the FBI to Indianapolis to answer federal charges.

    July 29, 2014 1 Story

  • Woman’s condition ‘fair’ after grocery store wreck

    A Terre Haute woman was listed in fair condition Tuesday at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis as the result of injuries sustained in Monday’s accident on the Baesler’s Market parking lot.

    July 29, 2014

  • Semi driver cited for alcohol use

    A commercial vehicle driver has been placed out of service after he tested positive for alcohol consumption during a Tuesday morning traffic stop in Sullivan County.

    July 29, 2014

  • Church to give out school backpacks

    United Methodist Temple will stage its first-ever Back-2-School Bash from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 9.
    The church is located at 5301 S. U.S. 41.

    July 29, 2014

  • Elderly woman in fair condition after accident in Baesler’s lot

    An 80-year-old Terre Haute woman is listed in fair condition today at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis as the result of injuries sustained in Monday’s accident on the Baesler’s Market parking lot.

    July 29, 2014

  • 2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A video camera captured the terrifying plight of two women who became trapped on an 80-foot-high railroad bridge by a freight train that surprised them as they walked along the tracks.

    July 29, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 29, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on jail records.

    July 29, 2014

  • Illinois to ask voters about taxing millionaires

    BERWYN, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation allowing voters to weigh in on whether Illinois millionaires should pay more income tax.

    July 29, 2014

  • Illinois woman dies retrieving phone from fire

    BARTONVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a central Illinois woman is dead after running back into her burning home to get her cell phone. A police officer who tried to save her was hospitalized.

    July 29, 2014

  • Ivy Tech names Jeff Fanter senior VP, Anne Valentine VP

    Ivy Tech Community College President Thomas J. Snyder announced the promotion of Jeff Fanter to the role of senior vice president for student experience, communications and marketing and Anne Valentine to the role of vice president for student experience and customer service.

    July 29, 2014

  • Change in traffic patterns at U.S. 41 intersection improvement project

    VIGO COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation reminds motorists the intersection improvement project on U.S. 41 from just south of Interstate 70 to just south of Johnson Drive has switched traffic phases. Traffic is prohibited from turning left off of U.S. 41 at both Johnson and Davis Drives.

    July 29, 2014

  • IU commemorating WWI centennial in 2014-15

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana University plans to spend the upcoming academic year exploring the lingering impact of World War I.

    July 29, 2014

  • Indiana higher ed chief rolls out class load campaign

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s higher education commissioner wants college students to get the message that they should take at least 15 credit hours each semester if they expect to graduate on time.

    July 29, 2014

  • Indiana higher ed chief rolls out class load campaign

    Indiana's higher education commissioner wants college students to get the message that they should take at least 15 credit hours each semester if they expect to graduate on time.

    July 29, 2014

  • MET 072814 BUS MEYERROSE.jpg Bus safety features

    New safety features on South Vermillion School Corp. buses have led to fewer disciplinary problems and fewer incidents of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses, officials say.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Pendergast.jpg Humvee driver says foot caused fatal accident

    Kyle Pendergast, 22, the Terre Haute driver of a black Humvee charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing the death of a teenager, has told police he could not turn the wheel before the vehicle flipped in a field in an early Saturday morning accident.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 072814 CONTAMINATED Cleaner may have contaminated water

    Groundwater and soil testing is set to begin within a week to learn whether toxic chemicals might have seeped into the wells of a small southside neighborhood and even beyond.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Housing Authority’s Warren Village nearing completion

    Construction on the newest Terre Haute Housing Authority property – Warren Village – should wrap up next month, a housing authority official said Monday.

    July 29, 2014

  • rush-hr.jpg Observers predict ‘wide open’ process of picking next chief

    State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson surprised observers in June when he decided to step down after a brief tenure as the state’s top judge.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Multi-vehicle accident in parking lot

    A woman was hospitalized with injuries after a multiple-vehicle accident late Monday morning in the Baesler’s Market parking lot on Poplar Street

    July 29, 2014

  • Old National acquires Michigan bank

    Evansville-based Old National Bancorp and Grand Rapids-based Founders Financial Corp. said Monday they have finalized an agreement under which Old National will acquire Founders through a stock and cash merger.

    July 28, 2014

  • Ohio man falls to death at Cataract Falls rec area

    Indiana conservation officers are investigating the death of an Ohio man that occurred at about 4:10 p.m. Sunday at Cataract Falls State Recreation Area in Owen County.

    July 28, 2014

  • 65,000 chickens die in rural Indiana fire

    WARSAW, Ind. (AP) — Thousands of chickens have been killed in a fire on a northern Indiana farm.

    July 28, 2014

  • One person hospitalized after parking lot pile-up

    A woman was hospitalized with injuries after an accident late this morning in the Baesler’s Market parking lot.

    July 28, 2014

  • Indiana teachers worry about revamped ISTEP test

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana teachers are heading back to classrooms starting this week and face the daunting task of preparing students for a standardized test that’s been retooled three times since 2009.

    July 28, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Raw: Earthquake Rocks Mexico's Gulf Coast Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Judge OKs Record-setting $2B Sale of Clipper Mother of 2 Makes NFL Cheerleading Squad at 40 Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con Today in History for July 29th Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Two women barely avoid being hit by train Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity