Two days after the massacre of children in Uvalde, Texas, and 12 days after the racist mass killing in Buffalo, Chenxing Han, a chaplain and teacher, told a Buddhist parable.
A man is shot with a poisoned arrow, Ms. Han recounted as she drove a group of high school seniors to visit a Thai temple in Massachusetts.
The arrow piercing his flesh, the man demands answers. What kind of arrow is it? Who shot the arrow? What kind of poison is it? What feathers are on the arrow, a peacock’s or a hawk’s?
But all these questions miss the point, the Buddha tells his disciple. What is important is pulling out that poison arrow, and tending to the wound.
slaughter of 19 elementary school children and two teachers in Uvalde, and when a gunman steeped in white supremacist ideology killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket. The United States is a nation that has learned to live with mass shooting after mass shooting.
More than one million people have died from Covid, a once unimaginable figure. The virus is now the third-leading cause of death, even with the availability of vaccines in one of the most medically advanced countries in the world. An increase in drug deaths, combined with Covid, has led overall life expectancy in America to decline to a degree not seen since World War II. Police killings of unarmed Black men continue long past vows for reform.
The mountain of calamities, and the paralysis over how to overcome it, points to a nation struggling over some fundamental questions: Has our tolerance as a country for such horror grown, dusting off after one event before moving on to the next? How much value do we place in a single human life?