Brady Quinn could have probably skipped the press conference after the Kansas City Chiefs' 27-21 win over the Panthers on Sunday. Not many would have faulted him for doing it either, not after what he and his teammates had been through over the weekend.
Quinn did climb onto the podium after the game, his team's second win of the season -- no consolation for the kind of tragedy he and his teammates have been through. He opened up. In the space of about 30 seconds, the Chiefs quarterback delivered the most powerful statement anyone has made yet in the wake of Saturday's devastating events.
In an essay titled "Faux Friends" that appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, William Deresiewicz reflected on the connected society:
Friendship is devolving, in other words, from a relationship to a feeling-from something people share to something each of us hugs privately to ourselves in the loneliness of our electronic caves, rearranging the tokens of connection like a lonely child playing with dolls. The same path was long ago trodden by community. As the traditional face-to-face community disappeared, we held on to what we had lost-the closeness, the rootedness-by clinging to the word, no matter how much we had to water down its meaning ... Scanning my Facebook page gives me, precisely, a "sense" of connection. Not an actual connection, just a sense ...
So information replaces experience, as it has throughout our culture ...
We have given our hearts to machines, and now we are turning into machines. The face of friendship in the new century.
Tens of millions of Americans struggle with mental health issues, some more serious than others. The most important takeaway from all of this is just to take Quinn's advice, talk to someone.
Over the next week, we're about to experience an endless stream of sermonizing and suggestions, outrage and horror, for a senseless act of violence committed by a man who obviously needed help. Ignore all of it.
Just remember Quinn's words, his call to action.
Get to know a friend. Spend more time with your son or daughter. Call your mother. Talk to your spouse. Those connections make life richer and make all of us healthier and happier people.
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