Saturday, November 20, 2004

Where did that come from?

That question come up often as I am writing. I don't often dare answwer it. Since I am in a contemplative mood this morning and feeling somewhat strong, I have been thinking about answers. All I really have to do is read the newspaper.

Item:

Tuesday, November 16, 2004. Macon, Georgia. A first-grader brought a .38 handgun to school. He said he found it under his parents' bed. The police report says that it was "empty".

Back when they were in high school, my brother and one of his friends learned about unloaded handguns the hard way. My brother still carries the emotional scars. His friend survived. Barely.

Firearm Safety Rule #1: The gun is always loaded.

Item:

Fallujah, Mosul, Baghdad.

The brother of a classmate of mine in elementary school was drafted and sent to Vietnam. He came home 6 months later in a Hefty bag.

Item:

Monday, November 15, 2004. Macon, Georgia. A registered sex offender chased two young girls around the neighborhood before school. He was naked. They lived across the street from him.

I have a memory that I have tried to forget for many years. The attic of the Rose's store was dim, dusty, and hot. The stock man had offered me $10 to help him carry some boxes up the stairs. I was 10. While we were in the attic, he "inspected" me to make sure I didn't have VD. What did I know? He was big; I was scared. The memory still scares the Hell out of me.

Item:

Thursday, November 18, 2004. Reynolds, Georgia. A 17-year-old shot and killed his 27-year-old neighbor after a fight about a PlayStation that the shooter says the victim stole from him. It was the first murder in Reynolds in 10 years. The last murder in that peaceful small town occurred after a fight over a cassette tape.

How can people get so outraged over Nicolette Sheridan's bare back or a flash of Janet Jackson's tit when this kind of thing is happening every day and goes unremarked? That seems like a moral perversion to me. Someone's priorities are out of whack.

Horrors don't just happen in the Middle East or Africa or Russia. Look around your town, your neighborhood, your house, your own head. There are plenty of stories around to inspire fear, dread, and rage.

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