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Stuff that doesn’t make sense.

July 27, 2011

The weekend was full of it. The sheer horror of events in Norway was compounded by the sheer inexplicability of the motivation. It’s fairly easy to grasp and be chilled by anybody carrying out an act of mass murder. What I found worse was that it went so far beyond indiscriminate and random as to be unintelligible. A man opposed to immigration attacks his own country’s youth to make his point? Politically and ideologically led terrorism we have to cope with already, but this seems to me another even odder twist.

And then there was Amy Winehouse. I gasped and swore aloud when I first got the news from Ceefax. What’s really odd is that beyond knowing her name and exploits from newspapers, and knowing (from a general knowledge viewpoint) the titles of her albums, I can honestly say I’d never heard a full song of hers nor watched her perform. And yet I was upset. Why?

I guess it comes down to age. 27 seems old from 18, yet young from 40. 18 – around the ages of the Utoya victims – seems younger still from that perspective. There is something, perhaps, in the idea that as somebody lives, they learn about themselves and wish that gift be available to others.

27 is an age when a person is more or less sure of who they are, and starts to see what they have that can take them where they wish to go. We’ll never know what Amy Winehouse might have done with the longer part of her life – but her past leaves us at least with a clue. Similarly, among those youngsters on that perfect island there may have been a future Nobel prize winner and for sure many loving parents and decent citizens of the world. Again, the memories they leave with their loved ones provide a clue and perhaps in later years a tiny comfort.

Asking “why?” in cases like this seems to be only part of how to process things. Most of us can only hope to become old enough to help the young to grow; and perhaps being conscious of that – and being both willing and able to do so-  is one comfort we might draw.

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