I received positive feedback on my column earlier this summer on bad news, so I am expanding on the topic.
In my last column, I explained how I don’t like bad news. However, I explained how bad news is important to report because it reminds us of the consequences of crime and carelessness. It also encourages us to care about those around us. When bad things happen, we can be neighbors who stop and help or offer prayers and thoughts from a distance.
I think a reader who called to compliment my column said it best. She said the news is important to follow because it helps one to “conjure up compassion for the wrongs of the world.” She also noted something about bad news that I was hoping to expand on — the good news that is often hidden within bad news.
This thought reminds me of what Mr. Rogers said his mother told him when they saw bad news: “Look for the helpers.” Mr. Rogers passed on this wisdom to the world through his children’s television show. When bad things happen, there are always people who come to help — first responders, officers, volunteers, friends and family.
These are the types of people who can turn bad news into better news. When 12 boys went missing inside a cave in Thailand last summer, it was bad news. But good news came when they were found and rescued by an international effort involving thousands of people.
It would have been really bad news in White Bear Lake last month if there had been no helpers when a gas line was accidentally struck by a utility crew. But firefighters quickly evacuated the area and put in a hose line in case the gas ignited. A potential catastrophe was averted. You can either moan and complain about whomever mislabeled the gas line or you can look at the bright side and see how an accident was rectified without an explosion or any injuries.
It was bad news this summer when several homes in the northeast metro were broken into by a group of thieves, and credit cards and cars were stolen. But police officers were hot on their trail.
It was devastating when a Hugo dancer went into cardiac arrest during a concert this summer. But it was serendipitous that an EMT, doctor and nurse were in the audience. They began CPR right away. Fortunately, she is expected to fully recover.
Not all bad news turns out so well. But even in the worst news, there might be good news that comes out of it. Within mass shootings, there are often heroes. When hurricanes strike, people come long distances to help. When young girls are sold for sex, people who don’t even know them rise up to help stop trafficking.
Members of the Minnesota Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi will present on what they are doing to stop sex trafficking in Minnesota at the Shoreview Community Center from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 13. The event is hosted by the Shoreview Human Rights Commission. I encourage you to attend to learn about the bad news — the prevalence of trafficking — and the good news about what is being done to stop it.
Bad news isn’t good but if you take the time to “Look for the helpers,” you’ll see the silver lining in the clouds.
Sara Marie Moore is editor of the Shoreview Press and Vadnais Heights Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org