Just once I wish the nightly news could get through an evening without warning us that some images may disturb certain viewers. Those stories humble me and prod my conscience. But that’s not the point, is it?

I know, don’t blame the messenger. When most of the news is bad, that’s what we hear. The press reports information, we absorb it like a sponge, and maybe get too used to it.

I remember seeing Emmett Till’s open coffin photo for the first time, and in 2010 the “Time” magazine photo of Aesha Mohammadzai, the Afghan woman whose family disfigured her as punishment for fleeing their continual abuse. There was a quiet dignity about her photo that was humbling — and disturbing.

Such images leave us aghast, but not much else gets our attention. We’re good at talking. We have words for editorials, protest signs, thoughts and prayers and crime-scene memorials. We’re long on “national conversations” but short on answers.

I’m seeing more articles on how to cope with constant bad news: exercise, meditating, taking a break from social media. We have unsolved problems, but also ways to address them: chemotherapy for cancer: laser surgery for vision issues.

Covid-19 has taught us that you don’t always need a medical degree to be part of the solution, just patience and discipline. With Covid (hopefully) in decline, maybe we just need to apply more of that approach to our daily lives.

We might be better prepared for the next challenge.

Jim Newton, Itasca

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