Tuesday, November 17, 2015

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chaos

Most of us are still trying to process what happened in Paris a few days ago. There was a concerted attack by a group of crazy well-funded terrorists (daesh), who purposely targeted an area known to be populated by a young and diverse crowd. Open-minded young people, out for an evening of fun, gunned down in a surrealistic bloodbath. The death toll stands at 129 with over three-hundred injured, nearly a hundred of those critically.

Moments after the attack in France, people were online, confirming that age-old adage: Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one. These days we all have our own digital soap box, be it Facebook, or Instagram, or good old blogger.com. Some Facebook users have put a filter over their profile photos, shading it the colors of the French flag. Sending out thoughts and prayers is being "liked" quite a bit. Others are asking who to pray to: the god that caused the attack or the one that failed to prevent the carnage.

Even Georgia butterball Newt Gingrich tweeted shortly after the tragedy, "Imagine a theater with 10 or 15 citizens with concealed carry permits. We live in an age when evil men have to be killed by good people." Who knew that the twit could tweet, but his online utterance seems a bit simplistic to me, breaking the world down into good guys and bad guys. Actor and heartthrob Rob Lowe had to defend his tweet: "Oh, NOW France closes its borders. . ." when the French president closed the borders shortly after the attack. Angelina Jolie wants us also to remember and pray for the victims of the suicide bombings in Beirut last Thursday, when 43 were killed and 239 were left in injured and in critical condition. She wants us to know that she's praying for both countries. 

My first reaction to the attack was, "Well, people have been killing people for a long time." Humans have been taking the lives of their fellow humans since they first learned to smash rock against skull. The murder rate wasn't as high, but the global population was sparse at the time. Now we're crowding each other out, and we have weapons that can take out thousands with a single BOOM! We live in a country that has not collectively taken responsibility for dropping not one but two atomic bombs on Japan near the end of World War II. Our reaction is to any global violence is yet more global violence.

I joined the air force when I was young and naive. I worked in the nuclear missile field, and quickly learned about the earth obliterating power of our nuclear arsenal. I also learned about nifty things like nerve gas, and the fact that you could inhale an odorless, tasteless aerosol that would then cause you to bleed out of every orifice on your body.  I was in service during the Iranian Hostage Crisis and I remember someone had carved out of the snow, covering a length of chain link face: "NUKE EM TILL THEY GLOW." I was starting to grow some sort of consciousness and I thought that murderous phrase was no laughing matter. 

We seem determined to obliterate ourselves, maybe even drive our own species to extinction, leaving the damaged planet to the cockroaches and water bears. The late Rodney King implored after his beating by the good cops of L.A., "Can we all get along? can we get along?" Apparently not Rodney. Human beings are all too busy judging each other, and retaliating for perceived wrongs done against them. What's worse is that the human species is hella dangerous in large crowds. That whole mob mentality thing. Give them guns and ammunition and it's like we're skipping carelessly towards the apocalypse. Fiddling about while the world burns.

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Now I veer away from the violent and steer towards vacation, or what passes for a vacation in my world. Thursday morning we will be heading out to Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula and staying in a [love] shack on the back forty of someone’s property. Tomorrow is our fourth wedding anniversary, which is reason enough to slip away, but who needs reasons to take a respite from the madness.  There is a widescreen TV and access to Netflix. There is a futon, a single bed and bunk beds, so plenty of places to nap.  There is a wood stove, which always adds to the romantic atmosphere, and a view of the Olympic Mountains…when the sky is clear.

Four nights and five days to read and relax. Four nights and five days without work. Without intrusive phone calls. Without the traffic noise. No agenda. No internet access, so no checking social media to see whose asshole is spewing opinions again. Will it be Angelina pleading for the Syrian dolphins? Or Rob Lowe dissing the Special Olympics for clumsy competitions? Maybe Bruce Willis will help us feel safe, by offering to take on ISIS (daesh) for us!! Meanwhile, I'll be in the woods reconnecting with reality (aka meatspace.)

This is what retaliation looks like.

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