The Starving Activist is the sometimes-home for words. AR Neal (that’s me) finds them, cultivates them, and leaves them here. Enjoy.

When Feeling Good Feels Bad

As my city continues to reel after the attacks in our downtown last week, I had a glimmer of hope in my email today. I mentioned that my son is a client at the Regional Center, which has extended the time that it will be closed due to the local and national investigation -- who would have thought that the FBI would be in my town? -- into the senseless act that took the lives of 14 (not including the two who committed the act) and injured another 21.San Bernardino is internationally known, this time not for being an All-American City as it was in the late 1970s. However, as violence continues to escalate in the US, it is an All-American City for a different reason.The last city we lived in became internationally known as well, if only for a few moments. Salem, New Jersey is home to a nuclear facility that encompasses what are essentially two separate power plants. Rumor had it that plans for Salem 2 had been found in Iraq (and I can't say for sure it was only rumor), but something that could have been a bit closer to what happened here surfaced in 2010: a man suspected of ties to radical groups had access to the plants in Salem and other surrounding areas.A dubious distinction, living in two otherwise nondescript towns that have drawn such attention. But I digress ...I mentioned that my son's case manager works at the Inland Regional Center. I sent her an email when all this happened last week. She works in the field so we were praying that she was safe and had not been at the office that day. I received a reply today, indicating that she was well.I was relieved.And then I wasn't.I was happy that she was okay and breathed that sigh we breathe that says 'Whew! Thank goodness!' Suddenly, I reflected on all the lives that have been negatively affected by what happened and felt not so good about feeling good.This is what happens in tragedy -- we are glad it wasn't us, our loved ones, friends, or others we care about. We are glad when the names of the lost do not include anyone familiar. We can then sit back and mourn from a distance. Our tears are real, but may not go quite as deep in our empathetic attempts.I pray for those who were harmed and their families. I send positive vibes and extra prayers for my son's safety. And I remind myself not to get too smug when good news arrives, just because it wasn't me who lost someone today.

Scribe's Cave Picture Prompt: Darkness Falls on Anytown

Scribe's Cave Picture Prompt: She Was Someone's Baby Once