People Who Live In Ö


John Wright


Most of us know the old saying re those who live in glass houses. I thought it appropriate to review a few of the glass houses that make up our USA community, so as to lend some awareness and realism to the lukewarm mush that we receive from the media and our federal government about Homeland Security. The event that kicked off my thinking in this area was the inferno in Southern California, and the news item that one person was arrested for arson. Letís see where this and other series of nasty events leads us and then jump topics to see what might be done to fix things.

Lee Malvo and John Muhammad had their fun last year and the toll was high. This year we have forest fires with perhaps a few malicious people responsible for them. Back in 2001 we had 9/11 (compliments of Osamaís "building fund"). And letís not forget Columbine and similar murders in other schools and places like McDonalds before that time. None of these events are necessarily related with regard to coordinated efforts, yet all squeak of one form of terrorism or another. When you come right down to it, all assaults on people and their possessions are some form of terrorism.

I suspect that most of us feel relatively safe from targeted future assaults because we are anonymous and small in a very large target area. True. The odds of you plus any of 30 people you care about dying due to terrorism of any form is less than one in a million. Perhaps those odds will stay the same and we can relax, comfortable in the knowledge that we are more likely to die in an ordinary automobile accident. Still, there is no rule about the frequency of various forms of terrorism Ö it may go up and it may go down. The mortality per event may also change, leading us to the question: At what point do we become personally concerned?

It is the confluence of vulnerability and desire to hurt that produces the best analysis of probability of future terrorist events. I recall writing in Destiny and in later articles the basic idea that we live because those who can kill us choose not to do so, basically in a live and let live manner. Our needs in common serve as the foundation behind all truly successful peace efforts and adherence to law, whether we consider our neighbors or other nations. Remove the needs in common view, however, and terrorism and militarism result.

The California forest fires are an excellent example of vulnerability, for the value of the forests are beyond measure and a simple weapon of mass destruction, the match, can destroy all of it. Will we outlaw matches or deny people access to the forests? Of course not! Another example of vulnerability is our waterways. How about poisons or nuclear waste dumped anywhere in the upper reaches/headwaters area of the Mississippi River? Is that more unlikely than California forest fires? You tell me. While we are at it, why not the Colorado River? Is it actually possible, let alone feasible, to patrol everywhere we are vulnerable? Think about it.

Okay, now we are starting to pickup steam! As I think about car bombs, which are so plentiful in the Middle East and in Mafia movies, I see that a slight variant would be very effective. How about a loosely connected group of terrorists decide to fasten explosive charges to propane delivery trucks now and then? Boom! Whoosh! What fatalities, fear and property damage! Are we or are we not vulnerable? (Psst! Chemists could do it easily without an explosive charge, but, as Iím sure you are aware, all chemists are highly moral Ö NOT!)

All right, I think I have made my point regarding vulnerability. If we canít become invulnerable in a physical sense, then what might we do to cause people to become peaceloving? It turns out that most of us are already that way, else chaos would be continuous. Therein lies the answer Ö or many answers.

Huxley used "soma" in Brave New World, and Orwell used "thought police" in 1984. What will we use? Oh, shit, I guess the answer is rather obvious, isnít it? Asscroft (no that wasnít a misspelled name!) and the rest of his type have a clear mission without a viable solution using their techniques, but they donít realize the futility of their efforts. They are trying to impose police rule everywhere when the problem is lack of value for human life in a tiny subset of the population, either citizens or those visiting from other countries. Ridge might turn "ruby" but it wonít help. It all comes down to having people value other people Ö all other people.

I think about the kids who killed other kids at Columbine, and I understand that estrangement is behind their acts. Donít we all want to belong and feel valued no matter where we are located geographically, socially and economically? Are we not bright enough to recognize a "hand job?" Do we not throw down the glove and kill when we believe we have not gotten a fair chance at happiness? I become disillusioned not with the self-serving acts of our leaders but with their belief that they can insult people everywhere, continuously, and get away with that behavior. None of them appear bright enough to understand when they have gone too far.

History has many examples of poor leadership. Refer back to Howard Zinnís History of the United States from 1492 to the Present and you will see the kind of cyclic pattern that drives me nuts. Maybe you will understand the silliness of our repetitions. Maybe you will embrace Destiny. Maybe not.

At a practical level I am irrelevant, for there are others better placed and more knowledgeable than me to help create the future of Humanity. I sure hope they do a better job than me of teaching others about our glass houses and our silly stones. In the meantime, I hope you will understand the necessity of undermining those who simply repeat the worst of our collective past, and act on it, in your own way in your own time. Vote wisely.