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Don’t let the monsters keep you down

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Don’t let the monsters keep you down

Sasha, a golden retreiver from Hilton Head Island, is one of the "comfort dogs" that went to Orlando to help those recovering from last weekend's mass shooting. (Photo provided)

Some people are no good.

Some are much worse.

They’re evil.

And unfortunately but inevitably, this week’s appropriate — and necessary — focus on the utterly evil act committed a year and a day ago at a Charleston church has been another chilling reminder of mankind’s capacity for inhumanity.

The lingering gloom from that renewed realization was further intensified last weekend by U.S. history’s deadliest mass shooting.

But before despairing over our species’ seemingly boundless wickedness, focus on this reassuring reality:

Most people are good folks.

That includes the nine good folks killed at Emanuel AME Church. It includes their loved ones who rose from the depths of fresh, agonizing grief to lift our community, state, nation and world with breathtaking grace by directly expressing forgiveness to a disciple of hate.

Other good folks:

The nine Charleston firefighters who died in the line of perilous duty nine years ago today at the Sofa Super Store in West Ashley.

The police who put their lives on the line at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday to keep that record death toll from growing.

Of course, cops and firefighters in Charleston, Orlando and beyond go to work every day knowing that their lives could suddenly be in extreme jeopardy.

They also bear the emotional burdens that come with trying — not always successfully — to save lives.

Other first responders, doctors and nurses endure life-saving stress, too.

And teachers accept the alternating joys and heartaches of striving to help their students in and out of the classroom.

Yet while such noble callings reflect especially well on those who perform them, true human worth transcends what people do — or don’t do — for a living.

So while remembering what happened on Calhoun Street on June 17, 2015, and what happened on Orlando’s South Orange Avenue on June 12, 2016, don’t forget to appreciate the so many fine people you know — and the vast multitudes of the fine people you don’t know.

Sure, depraved crimes — and not just mass murder — feel appallingly routine, even numbing, in these fretful times. But the fiends who carry them out are not the human norm.

Nice people are.

That’s regardless of income, age, race, gender, faith, lack thereof or political persuasion.

Sure, we Americans remain deeply divided along far too many finding-fault lines.

Still, that doesn’t preclude us ordinary types on all sides from taking unified inspiration via the extraordinary example set by the families and friends of those nine good people gunned down in that downtown church.

No, few of us can match that lofty standard of virtue.

But all of us should recognize — and reciprocate — the simple, numerous deeds of kindness, generosity and understanding that we frequently take for granted.

OK, so we’re wallowing through a particularly lowdown, contentious election year that undermines public faith in American self-government.

OK, so there are highly motivated evil-doers making innocents — increasingly including those in the U.S. — high-value targets.

And OK, even if only 0.1 percent of people are truly evil, apply that figure to this scary math problem:

With roughly 7 billion people on this planet, that would mean there are 7 million people who are very bad news.

The much better news, however, is that the good guys still vastly outnumber the bad guys. So if your perspective on humanity needs rescuing, don’t just look back at all of the bad stuff.

Look around at all of the good people.

“Comfort dogs” were sent to the rescue of emotionally scarred survivors in Orlando this week.

That merciful endeavor was coordinated by the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry.

Among those four-legged angels of outlook uplift was Sasha, a 19-month-old golden retriever who belongs to Brenda and Phil Burden of Hilton Head Island. Last October, the Burdens took Sasha to Roseburg, Ore., to help console those still reeling from the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College.

Phil Burden told The Hilton Head Island Packet this week: “The reason dogs make such good comforters is that they’re non-judgmental and they demonstrate unconditional love. Their mere presence is calming and healing; that’s why they’re so effective.”

And if you need some “calming and healing,” there are plenty of effective dogs who need to be rescued — and who can rescue you — at the Charleston Animal Society, Pet Helpers and other area shelters.

Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is wooten@postandcourier.com.

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