Important National Conversations

Posted on February 23, 2018 by Martin Oaks under Community, Hello world
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Martin Oaks Cemetery and Crematory in Lewisville, Texas has never had the experience of directly dealing with a mass casualty event such as the one which occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  However, like virtually everyone else in our society, we have felt an emotional impact from the horrific event — and we join all in prayerful remembrance of the victims.

All of us have a connection to the tragedy — recognizing, of course, that the pain of those directly involved is far more than anyone on the outside can even comprehend.

And we certainly salute all of those — inside and outside of the government — who are making efforts to begin to grapple with all of the attendant issues.

Although it may not seem to be a relatively major contribution, we also salute those who are showing solidarity with the students and families who were direct victims in this senseless violence.

For example, we applaud Major League Baseball for having players wear caps from Douglas High School as part of their spring training opening games.  Locally, the Texas Rangers will face the Chicago Cubs — the Cubs having a player, Anthony Rizzo, who is an alumnus of Douglas.

It’s easy to diminish these kinds of awareness gestures — but some forget that meaningful awareness, while being overshadowed by the horror of events like Parkland, is a step toward true change that all of us hope for in the future.

We are approaching an anniversary that clearly points to the role sports can play in societal change. While not equating the two, that is comparing the murder of innocents in Florida with any other injustice, awareness and ultimately brave action should be remembered for what happened in April of 1947 — Jackie Robinson, a true hero of his time and this time, broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

In spite of obstacles which would have defeated a person of less character, Robinson became rookie of the year and finally the highest paid player on his team, thus forever opening opportunities.  All of this came out of a professional sport, all of it came in a time when our society needed it the most.

Awareness created by symbolic gestures operate on one level – actually donating for specific purposes to a crisis situation is another matter entirely.  Simply surfing the web can lead you to legitimate charities who are coming to the aid of those in Florida.

The American Red Cross, at least in our opinion, is always a good choice to pitch in with help.  Are you aware that the Red Cross provides an overwhelming share of blood needed in crisis situations like the one in Parkland?  You may reach the Red Cross in that area by going to for information.

While this is tangentially related, another very serious issue we are facing is the terrible opioid addiction epidemic. And epidemic is the correct word. No matter which set of statistics from which expert group you look at, the numbers are flat out ugly. Millions of Americans have either abused or are dependent on these highly addictive drugs.

Opioid, which is derived from the word opium, has an especially pernicious quality because it includes legal painkillers that are prescribed for legitimate acute or chronic pain – thus setting up the potential for an addictive cycle. Estimates vary, but it is safe to say that more than 40,000 Americans overdose yearly on opioids; that’s more than 100 overdose deaths per day.

This crisis is not any easier to solve than mass shooting events – the only thing for certain is that our national conversation about both subjects is obviously imperative.

Your voice in the months ahead is, of course, one of the most valuable contributions any of us can make.


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