Tucson Shooting and American Dignity

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Tucson, along with all of the attention surrounding such an event, another story has unfolded. It is a story of grief and the many ways Americans mourn. While the events that transpired on January 8 were both tragic and sad, one has to wonder about some of the methods Americans employ in an attempt to personalize a tragedy. 

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In his blog, columnist Ted Rall takes a closer look at American grief and offers an interesting point of view. He wrote:

Somber is Out. Kitsch Reigns.

Americans don’t mourn right.

We are tacky.

We are gauche.

We turn tragedy into kitsch.

Last week’s news was dominated by the aftermath of the Tucson massacre: the memorial service, the funerals, even the reopening of the Safeway supermarket.

From memorial pages on Facebook to memorial decals on SUVs, Americans think anything goes when you’re mourning the death of a loved one—or someone whose death made national news, which somehow makes you want to feel involved even though, of course, you are not.

Lately, I find myself wondering, like Ted, if efforts to show unity often comes at the expense of dignity erosion. Does America take things too far?  

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