Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's a real world, after all.

Here we are, a few days on, and Gabby has been wiped off the front pages by Tunisia, which has been wiped off the front pages by Egypt.

I was proud of my blog and my readers in your responses to the last post. Thinking people, sane discussions; in spite of what is often an inflammatory topic.

Events like all of these are serving as a Rorschach blot test for our cultures. People and pundits interpret them in the light of their own interests first. I was amused at the number of columnists pointing out that the real failures in Tucson were in the health services department. Why, if only they'd had better funding, surely this poor sick man would have been helped, and all this prevented.

Which is not impossible; but what is also incandescently true is that no matter how well you fund and run any program, some human or other will slide through the remaining tiny cracks, and bad things will happen, regardless. Less often. But you cannot ever reach zero.

Surely we know this.

Then what is required of those of us who think is - some provision for the exceptions.

And what a tangled can of worms we have there. I cannot provide "answers" to the two excellent conundrums posed in the comments to the last post: "should common citizens be armed", and from Steve Salmony: "is there any hope for our species."

But I can, I think, provide a bit of useful insight.

This world of ours is what it is; and we live in it.

Discussions and opinions about what it should be are useful. But they should not be mistaken for realities waiting to pop into place.

Perspective on arming of citizens comes from Egypt, right now. Their police have been rejected by the people, declared and made illegitimate. Leaving the streets open to any and all criminals, who, be assured, were right on their toes waiting for the very first opportunity.

So far, the result in Egypt seems to be that neighbors are arming themselves with anything available, and openly showing that they will resist looters. Often these neighbor-police only have sticks to show. Often the criminal element has an illegal gun or two.

None of which is any answer to whether the situation would be improved by better gun control, or everyone being armed. It's just worth knowing; seeing; you could find yourself in this situation; anywhere in the world.

That's reality.

And it's not easy to come up with pat answers and positions. I'm on the fence myself. We own guns, being way out in the country, and using them for hunting sometimes. At the same time, I think there is some point to trying to decrease the number of guns floating around in cities; and I am fiercely opposed to the idiotic new ruling here in the US allowing people to carry concealed weapons in our National Parks. The Park reality includes the fact that they do have a highly trusted police, who can keep those places as safe as the world is ever likely to be anywhere. We should keep it that way. (rant, rant.)

All of this, and similar stuff, adds up to a response to your question, Steve- likely the only one you'll ever be able to find.

Does our so-promising species have any chance at a future?


There are quite a few of us species members who are going to fight for some kind of future, until we die, no matter what.

We already are.

The real world sucks. It always has; read Charles Dickens if you doubt it.

Incredibly bad things happen. Horrors happen. More of them are ahead of us.

But in all the past horrors, some of our species have struggled to make things better, just a little, whenever possible.

It can be crippling to look at our real world and bemoan what it is not. We could be so much more; so much better. You can freeze yourself into immobile depression by contemplating too long what we don't do.

Better, I think, to just keep in mind: It's a Real, Real, World.

One good response that can help keep you sane; find your iceberg, and push on it.


Lauren said...

Unfortunately we will have the Scheckner tragedy on the front page for awhile, focusing no doubt on gun control (she bought the gun used to murder her children five days before the murders) and if being a military family with Dad in the Middle East had any impact. The biggest impact on me was reading how happy and "together" the family was according to their Facebook cyber "reality."

In response to the future of our species, very few species last over the very long haul, and I believe either self-annihilation through war and it's consequences or an actual
pandemic will be the end of homo sapiens at some point.

tickmeister said...

Somebody said that we are ultimately as happy as we make up our minds to be. Human existance is finally tragic, we will die and all traces of our existance will be wiped out. By great striving, a few of us may be remembered for a few thousand years. Others will be forgotten in weeks.

I firmly believe that the great machine that we have made is on the verge of breaking and much suffering will follow. I was born and and lived my first 10 years on a farm without electricity or running water and with minimal machinery to ease the work. Fair chance I will live my last 10 years on that same farm without electricity, running water, or much machinery. So be it.

I've got several acres worked up for a truck patch and 2 years seed and fertilizer stored. I will do what I can. I will also sing, dance, and play my banjo. I will be happy as often as possible. Please join me in that. As you wrote in the iceberg parable, if others see us joyfully facing whatever fate brings, many will join. Others will think we are crazy and will leave us alone.

Melinda Foster said...

Thank you so much for this thoughtful post. As you point out, the world has always known tragedy, violence, and chaos. A knee-jerk reaction to any such event will only contribute to the problem. Those of us who are determined to make our world as good a place as it can be must keep calm heads and act with determination.

AKfitknit said...

About the change allowing people to carry guns in the National Parks. I live in Alaska, and I don't know anyone that is opposed to it. The reason people want to carry guns in national parks such as Denali is that here there be bears. Big, ornery, hungry, protective of their turf and their cubs, bears. It's not so we can shoot other people. There is no way I would go into Denali without a gun, banned or not.

Greenpa said...

Well, but, Lori- I've personally hiked the back trails in Glacier National, and Banff, etc; where there are plenty of grizzlies; with my very small children along.

Unarmed. And so have HUGE numbers of other people visited Denali; for decades; who have not carried concealed weapons, and who somehow, did not get eaten.

AKfitknit said...

Yes, that is true. I would not like to be the unlucky and unprepared one though. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it :)
I agree with many of your opinions, most of the time. Just not this one.

tickmeister said...

The weapons in parks ruling took effect on Feb. 22, 2010. Per a recent article in the National Parks Examiner, pretty much nothing has happened. The writer was aware of only two incidents, one of which involved visitors firing a .45 pistol at a Grizzly who charged them. The bear died, no harm to the visitors. This was considered clear self defense. The other involved two teen-agers target shooting with a .22. They were asked to stop and they did.

This scenario always seems to play out with concealed weapons. Major concerns, none of which ever materialize. My opinion, the more law abiding people carry guns the better.