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Who really deserves our attention?

Our nation’s attention focused on the City of Aurora, Colo., last week. The young man who apparently decided to use violence and disregard for human life to attract attention got his way.

Everyone is looking at him, at least for a short time. Most folks want the absolute worst outcome for his future.

The 24-year-old armed himself to the teeth, entered a movie theater and started mowing down innocent moviegoers. Clearly the man is disturbed.

The scene was horrific to be sure. No one yet knows what prompted the shooting.

At least 12 people were killed and more than 50 injured, including some young children.

To add even more drama to the situation, after the alleged shooter was arrested, the man told authorities he’d heavily booby-trapped his apartment.

On Saturday law enforcement experts were attempting to dismantle booby-traps and defuse the danger.

Sadly, it won’t be long before the national media — and our country’s attention — moves on to either the next big tragedy or the next celebrity scandal.

That’s how our world works. We focus intently on the latest tragedy, but we quickly lose interest.

We’ll dig through every detail of the current case, including all sorts of analysis of the shooter and every shred of his history that can be located.

Perhaps it’s human nature to seek understanding in such situations. We all think that with enough insight or enough of a peek inside the head of the perpetrator that we can make sense out of the madness.

We’d like to think that if we could find that one shred of logical explanation about what led someone to do this that that would change everything.

But rather than focus on the alleged criminal — alleged at least by legal definition — let’s focus on some young Americans who deserve the nation’s full attention.

Over the last few weeks, while the Colorado shooting suspect plotted his sinister moves, purchasing firearms, ammunition and body armor for his grand, cold-blooded act, across the globe another group of Americans was working in a far less selfish manner.

Unfortunately, for the most part, their efforts get little to no attention these days.

Today is only the 21st day of July, but already America has lost an average of one U.S. soldier in Afghanistan per day.

Of the 21 U.S. soldiers who have died during the month of July in operations in Afghanistan, the average age is 25.

The soldiers hailed from 14 different states and one U.S. territory — Puerto Rico.

Most of us may, at least temporarily, know the name of the alleged Colorado massacre.

But how many of us know the names of soldiers such as U.S. Army Sgt. Daniel A. Rodriguez of Baltimore or Sgt. Jose J. Reyes of Puerto Rico?

Both men were killed Wednesday when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle while they were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

The soldiers — and other 19 men and women who died this month — are true heroes of our country. While we pause to pray for the victims of the Colorado shooting spree, we should not forget that other victims die daily representing our country. They deserve attention, too, and not just for a fleeting moment or two.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.