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July 26, 2012 9:28 am

EDITORIAL: Changing the story’s ending

Written by Ilene Olson

Problems and trials come into all lives, and, for the most part, we deal with them as best we can. But that is especially hard to do when pain and injury are inflicted intentionally by someone who apparently had no sense of right and wrong, no sense of decency or empathy — only evil intent.

For scores of families in Colorado whose loved ones were wounded, killed or traumatized in the Aurora theater shooting last week, the psychological wounds are as painful — sometimes more painful — as the physical ones. Unfortunately, the financial consequences only compound that pain.

As these victims and their families struggle with difficult realities, it is gratifying to see members of the public, many of them strangers, offering comfort and solace to those who are hurting, both physically and emotionally, and providing aid to those who need it most.

The story of one of those families in need ran in Tuesday’s Powell Tribune. Bernadine Linderman Bateman, a 1956 Powell High School graduate, now lives in Colorado. Her granddaughter, Petra Anderson, sustained multiple gunshot wounds during the Aurora theater shooting. That tragedy further traumatized Bernadine’s family just as her daughter, Kim Anderson — Petra’s mother — was about to begin treatments for life-threatening cancer.

Miraculously, Petra will recover, but she had to undergo neurosurgery and likely will need more surgery in the future. The financial implications of her injury, combined with the cost of her mother’s cancer treatments, are staggering.

In an online video about the family’s trials, Petra’s sister, Chloe said, “The reality of after the hospital visit was starting to loom large.”

As so often is the case, we find that events in another state trickle down to touch us all, even in a place as small as Powell. And there are many among us who have similar concerns and needs, even if they weren’t directly affected by the shooting.

So it is up to us, at least in part, to extend the humanity that is so needed now, to provide relief to those who are suffering — to say the comforting word, to extend kindness and prayers, and to offer help in whatever small way we are able.

By joining our efforts with those of others, we can change the story’s ending.

As of Wednesday afternoon, a fundraising campaign to help the Anderson family had raised $175,289 of its $250,000 goal, with $75,000 of that pledged to help other shooting victims.

“The villain may have intended this as his story,” Chloe Anderson said. “He may have stepped into our world, but we’re watching heroes appear everywhere we look.”

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