“Never again” is a very important sentiment and pledge. Usually expressed in the aftermath of tragedy, it reflects the desire of an individual or group to make sure that a particular event does not occur a second time. Saying “never again” is a good and noble thing, but without a resolve to understand the event that lead to the saying of “never again” there is little hope of preventing a second calamity of the same variety as the first. The “how” and “why” questions in particular must be addressed. Of the two, “how” is normally the easier question, seeing as it merely involves the details of whatever happened. “Why” on the other hand can often be challenging, both because it is sometimes difficult of know why something happened, and because sometimes it is easy to understand why something happened, but for whatever reason the truth is hard to accept. If we really are committed to “never again,” however, then we must accept the truth of the answer to the “why” question, no matter how burdensome it may be to us. Otherwise, “never again” is just an empty phrase, with about as much power to stop a future tragedy as changing our social media avatar.

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