Saturday, April 20, 2013

This Is The Week That Was

I have refrained from making any comments about the horrific events of this week. There were, of course, two major events, the marathon bombing in Boston and the fertilizer factory explosion in West, Texas. I'm sure there were any number of other negative events in other parts of our country, but whatever they may have been, they were overshadowed by the media's coverage of the two main events.

One talking head commentator made a very interesting point this week. His point? There are about 312 million people in this country and about 311,999,500 of then arrived home safely each evening and share time with friends and family. In other words, the state of the human condition is very, very, very good. Unfortunately, some very bad things happen to some very good, innocent people - whether attacked by a terror attack at a marathon or shocked and shaken by a massive explosion in their community.

Also, unfortunately, bad news, negative news and sensationalism are the things that sell commercials on broadcast and cable TV, radio news and talks stations and newspapers. Good news is actually so common that it doesn't garner the headlines. The horrors of the Aurora, Colorado and the Newtown, Connecticut shootings have created a furor over gun control that has created massive controversy and debate. But, the reality, as I see it, is that it's still not really about the guns, the kinds of guns or the size of the magazines. It's about a very, very small fraction of a percentage of the population who are evil and it doesn't matter whether they have access to guns or not, they will perpetuate their evil deeds. This week was a perfect example as two young men took three lives and permanently maimed nearly 200 people - WITHOUT using guns. As a matter of fact, they carried out their evil plan with common household products available to anyone.

My point here is not to defend or oppose the current debate over gun control. However, considering that tens of thousands more people are killed each year by automobiles and trucks including some incidents that involve hit and run or even suicide by car. But, there doesn't seem to be any debate over banning cars or large engines or certain kinds of cars. And if you add to the reality that alcohol and some drugs, including prescription drugs, often precipitate tens of thousands of deaths by auto, how do we curb that. We already tried "prohibition" of alcohol in this country and that didn't work and actually caused the establishment and growth of an underground, criminal liquor industry.

I could go on and on. But, my point is simply this. There is evil in this world. This cannot be denied. There are people in this world who want other people dead. Who are the targeted people? They are Americans, British, French, Indians, Africans of all nationalities, Asians of all nationalities, South Americans of all nationalities. In other words, there are evil people everywhere intent on harming and killing other people for a variety of reasons. We can't ban pressure cookers, model airplanes and remote control cars, knives, guns, booze, automobiles, baseball bats, poisons (add whatever you want to this list) because that's not going to stop evil in its tracks.

We need to accept that evil exists and the more people there are in the world, the more evil there will be. And, for some reason, evil people have this need to deprive the overwhelming majority of good, peaceful people of their natural rights, freedom and happiness. Foiling these evil people is the answer and the only answer. No matter what laws we pass to control or ban anything whether guns, knives, explosives, cars, airliners, etc. it will not stop evil from wreaking havoc, murder and pain. The only thing that will win will be facing down the evil people, whether they are mentally ill, sociopaths, psychopaths, religiously or politically radicalized individuals. Unfortunately, there will continue to be "collateral damage" forever simply because there will be evil people who will slip through the cracks like the two young men involved in the Boston Marathon bombing.

We live in dangerous times. Actually, I don't believe the times are anymore dangerous than any other time in the history of human civilization. I simply believe that in the continuous march toward progress, we continue to create more and better and more efficient means of killing and maiming. We as a nation (as all nations do) call it National Defense. We say we are creating these weapons of mass destruction for protection of our own citizens (regardless of the name of the country making the statement) and as a deterrent against attack or for preemptive reasons. However, once these weapons are created, they will eventually find their way into the hands of the evil people. It's a vicious cycle that doesn't seem to have an end other than the potential annihilation of all of humanity and civilization. Pandora is out of the box and we're trying to put her back in, but she's having none of it.

I would be remiss if I didn't salute the many law enforcement agencies and individuals, the firemen and EMS people and all the other first responders at all levels - in Boston and its suburbs and in West, Texas - for their fantastic efforts this week. While I might be a bit critical of some of these agencies and people sometimes, I have to salute them and praise them for their effective efforts this week.

My thoughts and my prayers for peace and overcoming the pain, both physical and emotional, of these horrendous events - the most recent being the Boston Marathon bombing and the West, Texas explosion and fire, but certainly not forgetting a long, long (all too long) list of horrendous terror attacks, acts of war, major accidents and natural disasters. There is never an answer for "Why me?" or "Why my loved one?" For those of faith, I hope they receive and feel comfort from their faith. For those who don't subscribe to a formal belief in some faith, I hope they find peace and consolation in whatever way works for them.

I wish I could end this post with some kind of concrete ideas or prescription to heal all the hurt and defeat all the evil in the world. I can't! I simply have to accept my own humanity and do my best to do no harm to others, to not infringe on or deprive my brother and sister humans of their natural rights, especially freedom and happiness. And, I have to hope that I'm fortunate enough to never find myself as the target of a horrific event whether precipitated by evil, human accident or nature. Life is fragile and very short. We are all vulnerable. My very best to you for your safety and health and especially to enjoy your personal freedom as you define it for yourself and for your happiness. 

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