.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Lightning Strikes vs. Terror Strikes

Our cats are so quiet that it is always startling to be reminded of their ability to state their objections at some very high pitches. One reason why this surprises is that they don't do it often. Generally they fully exert their vocal chords on just two occasions. The first is when some part of their person is stepped on. The other, which is more extended, more intense, and more frequent, happens when they're contesting points with other cats.

Humans indulge in a similar kind of behavior.

If on September 11, 2001 the several World Trade Center buildings had been brought crashing to the streets by an earthquake, you wouldn't have heard screams of outrage and vows of revenge. Well, not many anyway. That's because that calamity would have been seen as being a "natural disaster," provided by divine providence. Yet the death and destruction would have compared, if not in extent at least to degree, to what was brought on by men in a couple of hijacked airliners.

After 9/11 the U. S. instantly sprouted millions of acres of bared fists and teeth. Those concerted strikes were seen as having been the work not of Mother Nature but of fellow humans, and as such they were thought to deserve our fiercest expressions of anger and lust for revenge.

But such catastrophes are never called "unnatural disasters," and I wonder why. Maybe it's because of the unconscious recognition that actually they're no more unnatural than earthquakes, hurricanes, or tsunamis -- if you accept the proposition that wars and terror strikes come natural to human beings, and the evidence seems to be that they do.

That said, if hatred isn't an appropriate response to an earthquake, then it shouldn't be to a 9/11 event either. It would be more useful after the event to pick up the pieces and carry on as before, while examining the situation and going easy on the recriminations.

Instead emotions take so much precedence over reason that exacting quick and thorough revenge is thought to be the only thing to do, and all the more so, recent events seem to say, if directed at people who had nothing to do with the planning or the execution of the strikes. All that matters -- the thoughtless thinking seems to go -- is that those populations were in the neighborhood and that the desired kill ratio is reached and maintained. But that only adds more broken pieces to the ones already there, and that in turn only increases the burden on the only ones able to do things that mean something in the long run -- a job to which guns are anathema.


Post a Comment

<< Home