In the next issue of the T-I (May 22) Ron Regehr responded to Dave’s letter voicing strong opposition to the fact it was written not only in English, but also in Spanish; “a foreign language.” Ron posed several questions to the reader as to why we American citizens would “encourage use of another language other than English?” He questioned our future should Americans become “de-facto bi-lingual.”
As I reread Ron’s letter, it struck me in a similar vein as the hurtful graffiti scribed on the fence at Grand Oasis following this tragic event. While I acknowledge the issues involved in adopting more than one “official” language in our country, I believe Ron chose a very poor time to express his personal views on this subject.
He seemed to entirely miss the inherent message in Dave’s letter, instead, getting caught up with the use of two languages rather than one to express his thoughts. Dave likely has his personal views on “official” languages as we all do, but he was sensitive to the fact many of the people affected by the incident were not native English speakers/readers. As such, he didn’t hesitate to step aside from this “official” language issue for the moment and reach out with respect to those most hurting, in a fashion (language) most readily discernible to them, that they might feel some real caring from others in the community in their time of need. Such consideration, Dave. Such compassion.
In the past, I have personally observed Ron extend compassion to others in their time of need; we each have this capability. But being human, we sometimes miss the cue on when it is needed most from us – and that we can either help, or hinder a situation, as our actions will reveal.