As you certainly remember, Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl who was killed during the shooting rampage in Tucson last month, was the granddaughter of ex-MLB manager Dallas Green and the daughter of current Dodgers scout John Green. Yesterday, Dallas Green, who works as a consultant for the Phillies, spoke to the media about his family’s loss.
I’m struck by Green’s bluntness. We’re so used to hearing cliches when someone dies, especially children. About God’s plan, and little angels looking down and all sorts of things that, while understandable for those grieving to cling to, have become somewhat empty and, in a strange way, desensitizing. Green’s sense of loss and his concern for his son and his family is far more palpable than we’re used to hearing in these situations and thus more affecting:
“Baseball helps me. You sink yourself into your work and you don’t see a little girl with a hole in her chest as much … This isn’t about me. It’s about my son, John, and his family. They are hurting desperately. It’s a terrible thing on John, Roxanna and Little D. I can get through it, but they’re going to hurt like the devil for a long time … This is still the best country in the world to live in. You would hope there would be some understanding that there are crazies in the world.”
There are crazies in the world. And, as Springsteen sang, there’s a meanness. And more chaos than we dare admit. We try to convince ourselves that there is not. That there is an order to things and purpose. Part of that unsavory business in which so many felt the need to cast the Tucson shooting into political terms is part of that. There must be a cause, we tell ourselves. Our orderly universe cannot just unravel like that without a purpose and intention. Someone — someone who isn’t mentally deranged like the shooter — is to blame.
And while often there are many thing that, on a very basic level contribute in some small way to such incidents — someone who missed a warning sign, some law, some song lyric, some video game, some novel or some inflammatory rhetoric — these things rarely if ever truly own or deserve anything approaching a substantial chunk of that blame. It’s craziness, sickness, meanness and chaos that is the true culprit. We don’t want to believe it because it doesn’t bring much comfort to admit it, but it’s true.
Keep a good thought in your heart today for the Green family. And always make sure that the people you love know that you love them. It’s the most effective bulwark against the chaos of our world.